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The Artistic Heritage of Modena: The Art of Diplomacy


Boats on the Seacoast at Étaples

Charles-François Daubigny (French, Paris 1817–1878 Paris)

Oil on wood
13 1/2 x 22 7/8 in. (34.3 x 58.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1903
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    In late May 1871 Daubigny and his family left London, where they had lived for seven months during the Franco-Prussian War and the ensuing violent upheaval in Paris known as the Commune. On their way back to Auvers, they stopped at Étaples, a seacoast town in Picardy where Daubigny had previously worked on several occasions. The present picture was probably painted during their month-long visit. In both subject and style it reflects the influence of Courbet, Jongkind, Whistler, Corot, and the young Monet, artists with whom Daubigny had painted during the previous decade.

    Daubigny donated "Boats on the Seacoast at Étaples" to a benefit sale of works by French and German painters, held in New York in 1872 to raise money for the victims of the Great Chicago Fire.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Daubigny 1871

  • Provenance

    the artist, Paris (until 1872; contributed to sale, Leavitt's, New York, May 16–18, no. 42); Mrs. Mary J. Morgan, New York (until d. 1885; her estate sale, American Art Association, New York, March 3–5, 1886, no. 39, for $1,325); J. W. Williams; Mrs. S. D. Warren, Boston (until 1903; sale, American Art Association, New York, Jan 8–9, no. 77, to Avery for MMA)

  • Exhibition History

    Newark Museum. "19th-Century French and American Paintings from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 9–May 15, 1946, no. 11 (as "Boats on Shore").

    Nashville. Fisk University Museum of Art. "100 Years of European Painting," April 28–June 10, 1965, unnum. checklist.

    Phoenix Art Museum. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Loan Collection: 'The River and the Sea'," February 15, 1967–February 15, 1968, no. 5 (as "Boats on the Shore").

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barbizon: French Landscapes of the Nineteenth Century," February 4–May 10, 1992, no catalogue.

  • References

    "The Morgan Collection of Paintings." Art Amateur 13 (October 1885), p. 89.

    "The Fine Arts: Sale of the Morgan Paintings." Critic (March 13, 1886), p. 133.

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 98–99, ill., note that Daubigny spent the month of June 1871 in Étaples and conclude that this picture was painted there based on a related drawing inscribed "Étaples, boats at low tide" (Daubigny's atelier sale, Paris, May 6–8, 1878, no. 557).

    Madeleine Fidell-Beaufort and Janine Bailly-Herzberg. Daubigny. Paris, 1975, pp. 176-77, no. 118, ill.

    Robert Hellebranth. Charles-François Daubigny, 1817–1878. Morges, Switzerland, 1976, p. 230, no. 699, ill., as "Bateaux échoués à Etaples"; erroneusly lists it in the Ferry sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 1921, no. 55.

    Anne Wagner. Memo. September 25, 1979, disagrees with Sterling and Salinger [Ref. 1966] that the site of this picture is confirmed by a related drawing, noting that the drawing is not inscribed and is dated 1876, five years after the painting; asserts that the identification of Étaples rests on the fact that Daubigny was there in June 1871 on his way home from London, where he was in exile during the Commune.

  • See also