Charcoal with stumping and scratching out and touches of white chalk on beige paper
Sheet: 59.4 x 98.5 cm (23 3/8 x 38 3/4 in.); Secondary Support: 60.5 x 99.5 cm (23 13/16 x 39 3/16 in.)
J.H. Wade Trust Fund 2021.140
Adolphe Appian was so well known for his skillful use of charcoal that many artists wrote to him asking for technical advice.
Adolphe Appian was renowned during the 19th century for his mastery of charcoal drawing. He specialized in large-scale landscapes depicting Lyon, his native region in southeastern France, and focused on what he termed “private little corners” rather than grandiose views. This drawing is one of several in which Appian depicted the winding Rhône River and the dense trees and large boulders that surrounded it. Two small fishermen give a sense of scale and draw the viewer into the scene. Appian worked with charcoal sticks and powder, wiping the material with cloth, paper, and even breadcrumbs before scratching into the paper’s surface to create an unprecedented tonal range.
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