Apple Blossoms, 1873
Charles–François Daubigny (French, 1817–1878)
Oil on canvas; 23 1/8 x 33 3/8 in. (58.7 x 84.8 cm)
Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900 (25.110.3)
Daubigny was a member of the Barbizon School of artists, active in the Fontainebleau region of Île-de-France in the 1830s and 1840s, who espoused a naturalistic approach to landscape painting. While the critic Théophile Gautier extolled the naturalism of Daubigny's landscapes in 1859, describing them as "pieces of nature cut out and set into golden frames," the artist's detractors faulted his loose handling and the absence of finish in his works. Daubigny first painted scenes of flowering orchards about 1857, reprising the motif almost every spring. This canvas, dated 1873, reflects his assimilation of the lightened palette of the Impressionists, first seen in his paintings from the end of the previous decade. Claude Monet, who as a young artist admired Daubigny's landscapes, painted two views of blossoming apple trees, also dated 1873 (Metropolitan Museum; H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco).