This peaceful evening scene is thought to be based on drawings Daubigny made in 1852 at Optevoz, a town in the valley of the river Rhône that he had first visited in 1849. (One of these sketches is also in the Museum's collection.) Although the painting appears to give a straightforward description of things seen, Daubigny is thought to have sacrificed finish and detail in order to imbue its modest subject with a poetic effect. Another version of the composition, signed and dated 1857 (Philadelphia Museum of Art), shows the view in different light and from a slightly greater distance.
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Title:The Hamlet of Optevoz
Artist:Charles-François Daubigny (French, Paris 1817–1878 Paris)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:22 3/4 x 36 1/2 in. (57.8 x 92.7 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Robert Graham Dun, 1900
Inscription: Signed (lower left): C. Daubigny.
?B. Claudon, ?Paris (in 1867); ?Georges Claudon, Paris (in 1895); Robert Graham Dun, New York (until d. 1900; purchased for $18,000; life interest to his widow, Mary D. Bradford Dun, 1900–d. 1910)
Paris. Champ-de-Mars. "Exposition universelle de 1867," 1867, no. 192 (as "Le hameau d'Optevoz," lent by B. Claudon, possibly this picture).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscape Paintings," May 14–September 30, 1934, no. 41 (as "Evening").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Taste of the Seventies," April 2–September 10, 1946, no. 84 (as "Evening").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Impressionist Epoch," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, not in catalogue.
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Paris — New York, A Continuing Romance," November 3–December 17, 1977, no. 62 (as "Gobelle's Mill at Optevoz").
Edinburgh. National Gallery of Scotland. "Lighting up the Landscape: French Impressionism and its Origins," August 1–October 19, 1986, no. 53.
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh. "Franse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten," March 15–May 31, 1987, no. 5.
New York. IBM Gallery of Science and Art. "The Rise of Landscape Painting in France: Corot to Monet," July 30–September 28, 1991, no. 51 (as "Gobelle's Mill at Optevoz").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barbizon: French Landscapes of the Nineteenth Century," February 4–May 10, 1992, no catalogue.
Paris. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais. "Impressionnisme: Les origines, 1859–1869," April 19–August 8, 1994, no. 48 (as "Le Hameau d'Optevoz [?]").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Origins of Impressionism," September 27, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 48.
South Hadley, Mass. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. "Valenciennes, Daubigny, and the Origins of French Landscape Painting," September 7–December 12, 2004, unnumbered cat. (fig. 53).
Jules Claretie. Peintres et sculpteurs contemporains. Paris, 1873, p. 230, lists "le Hameau d'Optevoz," 1867 as one of Daubigny's most remarkable landscapes [possibly this picture].
John W. Mollett. The Painters of Barbizon: Millet, Rousseau, Diaz, Corot, Daubigny, Dupré. London, 1895, p. 114, lists "Mill, The [des Gobelles] at Optevoz," 1857, in the collection of M. Georges Claudon, Paris [possibly this picture].
"$250,000 Bequest to Metropolitan Museum of Art." New York Herald (December 2, 1900), lists "Landscape" among twenty-five paintings bequeathed by Dun to the Museum; states that Dun bought this work for $18,000.
B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "Recent Accessions." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 6 (April 1911), pp. 98–99, ill., calls it "Evening" and notes that the "painting has a greater appreciation of solidity than is usual in Daubigny's ordinary work".
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. New York, 1946, p. 92.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 26.
Robert L. Herbert. Barbizon Revisited. Exh. cat., California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco. Boston, 1962, p. 109, identifies the site as Gobelle's mill at Optevoz, adding that Daubigny painted it several times; calls ours the best-known version of the subject; dates the version owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art (H524) to 1852–57 and states that the
the Philadelphia picture was based on studies dating 1852
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, pp. 95–96, ill., call it "Gobelle's Mill at Optevoz"; date it possibly 1857 since the Philadelphia version is inscribed 1857 and the trees in it are shorter.
Charles Theodore Price. "Naturalism and Convention in the Painting of Charles-François Daubigny." PhD diss., Yale University, 1967, pp. 96, 208, 236, calls it "Mill of Gobelle" and notes the influence of Courbet.
Kermit Swiler Champa. Studies in Early Impressionism. New Haven, 1973, p. 93, fig. 132, relates it to Sisley's two 1866 views of Marlotte (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo and Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo) as an example of Daubigny providing "a pretext for Sisley's motif".
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. 4th rev. ed. New York, 1973, p. 104, ill., calls it "Evening" and dates it about 1857.
Madeleine Fidell-Beaufort and Janine Bailly-Herzberg. Daubigny. Paris, 1975, pp. 112–13, no. 27, ill., date it about 1852 and call the Philadelphia picture a later reworking of this subject.
Robert Hellebranth. Charles-François Daubigny, 1817–1878. Morges, Switzerland, 1976, p. 168, no. 518, ill., calls it "Le moulin de Gobelle, à Optevoz".
Denys Sutton inParis—New York: A Continuing Romance. Exh. cat., Wildenstein. New York, 1977, pp. 56–57, no. 62, fig. 61, considers an earlier date of 1852 more consistent with Daubigny's style.
Bonnie Lee Grad. "An Analysis of the Development of Daubigny's Naturalism Culminating in the Riverscape Period (1857–1870)." PhD diss., University of Virginia, 1977, pp. iii, 72–73, 118–19, no. 17, fig. 27, dates this picture several weeks or months later in 1857 than the Philadelphia version, on the basis of the completed stone addition to the central building and the foliage which has changed from spring to summer; calls this picture "a more accomplished, more refined version of the Philadelphia work, with a closer vantage point and a more unified treatment of the scene".
Hans-Peter Bühler. Die Schule von Barbizon: Französische Landschaftmalerei im 19. Jahrhundert. Munich, 1979, p. 64, fig. 60.
Christopher Lloyd. Retrospective Alfred Sisley. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1985, p. 159, under no. 3, reiterates Champa's suggestion [Ref. Champa 1973] that this work inspired the composition of Sisley's "Village Road, Marlotte" (Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo).
Michael Clarke. Lighting up the Landscape: French Impressionism and its Origins. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1986, p. 56, no. 53, suggests that this is a studio picture based on sketches made at Optevoz in 1852.
Sjraar van Heutgen et al. inFranse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten. Exh. cat., Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1987, pp. 36–37, no. 5, ill. (color).
Michael Brenson. "French Landscape Painting, The Seed of Impressionism." New York Times (August 2, 1991), p. C22, ill.
Kermit S. Champa. The Rise of Landscape Painting in France: Corot to Monet. Exh. cat., IBM Gallery. Manchester, N.H., 1991, pp. 151, 228, no. 51, ill. (color), dates it about 1858.
Gary Tinterow in Gary Tinterow and Henri Loyrette. Origins of Impressionism. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 79, 295, 365, no. 48, ill. and colorpl. 102 [French ed., "Impressionnisme: Les origines, 1859–1869," Paris, pp. 79, 295, 363, no. 48, ill. and colorpl. 102], dates it about 1857 based on the date of the Philadelphia version; notes that Daubigny worked in Optevoz in 1849, 1852, 1854, and 1859 so that both versions must have been executed in the studio from oil sketches and drawings; states that it may have been included in Exh. Paris 1867.
Michelle Cochonat. Letter. October 12, 1994, specifies that the hamlet of Optevoz is a small village at the bottom of a hill, within the Commune of Courtenay dans l'Isère in the Dauphiné region.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 421, ill.
Lynne D. Ambrosini. "Daubigny in Minnesota: Six Undeservedly Obscure Paintings." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 139 (May–June 2002), pp. 396, 402, 410 nn. 49–50, fig. 10, discusses it in relation to The Met drawing study and the Philadelphia and private collection paintings of the same subject; states that it probably postdates the Philadelphia canvas, citing its smaller scale, less refined rendering of details, and more synthetic approach focusing on "mood" as evidence; suggests a dating of 1857–62 and compares it to his "Un village près de Bonnières (A Village Near Bonnières)" (1861, private collection).
Michael Marlais inValenciennes, Daubigny, and the Origins of French Landscape Painting. Exh. cat., Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. South Hadley, Mass., 2004, pp. 45, 50–52, 55 n. 35, p. 58, fig. 53 (color), calls it "The Hamlet at Optevoz" in the text and "The Hamlet, Optevoz" in the checklist, and dates it about 1849–52; suggests it may have been exhibited in the Salon of 1850–51 and the Lyonnais Salon of 1853 as "Vue prise à Optevos"; compares it with the MMA drawing study, observing the reliance on memory and invention in Daubigny's working method.
A charcoal study for this painting is also owned by the Museum (12.100).
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