Charles François Daubigny
The son of a painter, Charles François Daubigny received his initial training from his father, Edmond François Daubigny (1789-1843), a student of Bertin (q.v.). Daubigny's uncle, Pierre, and his uncle's wife were also painters. In order to finance a trip to Italy, Daubigny began painting decorative panels for the Musée de Versailles. By 1835 he had earned enough money for the excursion and, accompanied by Henri Mignon, traveled through Rome, Florence, Pisa, and Genoa, studying the Italian country-side. Upon his return to Paris in 1836 Daubigny began working for Granet (q.v.) in the paintings restoration depart-ment of the Louvre. He made his Salon debut two years later and would regularly show there until 1868. During this time he also learned etching, and it became a good source of income while still allowing him time to paint. Daubigny began to travel often, to Normandy in 1842, to the forest of Fontainebleau and on to Burgundy in 1843. He became friends with Corot (q.v.), and the two artists painted together in Switzerland and the Dauphiné. In 1857 Daubigny bought a boat that he converted into a studio and used to explore the Oise, Marne, and Seine rivers. The boat allowed him freedom to choose the best viewpoints for his landscapes, an idea that Monet (q.v.) would adopt years later. Daubigny achieved some financial success, received the Legion of Honor in 1859, and a year later built a home and studio in Auvers. In 1861, however, he was criticized because his works were becoming darker and sketchier. He was, in fact, one of the earliest artists to become interested in capturing the changing quality of nature by using light, rapid brush strokes.
While experimenting with painting, Daubigny continued his interest in printmaking. In 1862 he participated in an exhibit funded by Cadart, a print publisher and dealer. The exhibition concerned artists who considered printmaking a legitimate art in itself, not a medium for simple reproduction. Cadart became Daubigny's exclusive publisher. Along with Corot, Daubigny also experimented with the cliché verre technique. He continued to travel, in Brittany in 1867 and Spain in 1868-69. He was also supportive of other artists. As a member of the Salon jury of 1868, he was instrumental in having the works of Degas (q.v.), Morisot (q.v.), Pissarro (q.v.), Renoir (q.v.), Sisley (q.v.), Monet, and Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870) accepted. Daubigny moved to London in 1870 to escape the Franco-Prussian War. There he introduced Pissarro and Monet to Paul Durand-Ruel, his art dealer, who had opened a gallery in London. Daubigny returned to Paris after the war, traveling around the French countryside until the end of his life.