Paris 1817-1878 Paris
La Tamise aux environs de Londres, 1866
Signed and dated, lower right, juillet 1866 Daubigny; marked with the VENTE DAUBIGNY stamp (Lugt undescribed) on the original backing board, lower left; also inscribed on the backing board, upper left, acheté par le Comte Arnauld Doria / Vente du 19 mars 1937, Salle n° 10 (Hôtel Drouot) / N° 167, pour 1300 + 249 frais = 1549 frs.
Charcoal and black chalk
12 ¾ x 19 ½ inches
324 x 495 mm
Studio of the artist (C.-F. Daubigny sale: Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 6-11 May 1878, possibly lot 461 [Erith (la Tamise)], lot 540 [Erith], lot 542 [Erith (Entrée du port)], lot 547 [Erith (Tamise)], lot 550 [Tamise (Londres)], lot 552 [Londres (Tamise), Marée basse}, or lot 560 [Tamise})
Etienne-Edmond-Martin, Baron de Beurnonville (1825-1906), Paris (his sale: Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 16-19 February 1885, lot 288, as Entrée d’un port)
M. Albert Bouasse-Lebel, Paris, by 1925
Sale: Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 19 March 1937, lot 167 (as La Tamise aux environs de Londres. ‘Important et beau dessin au fusain et au crayon noir. . . ‘)
Comte Arnauld Doria (1890-1977), Paris, with his etiquette and associated number, 554, on the original backing board
Thence by descent
E. Moreau-Nélaton, Daubigny raconté par lui-même, Paris, 1925, p. 146, fig. 125 (as La Tamise aux environs de Londres, “ à M. Bouasse-Lebel”)
Charles Daubigny travelled to London in 1866. There he made at least seven drawings of the Thames, some of them depicting the river at Erith, a small port a few miles east of London, in the Thames estuary. The present, expansive sheet is dated July 1866 and is characterized by Daubigny’s strength, luminosity, and vigor of handling. It shows a variety of shipping drawn up along the banks of a river in an industrial dockland, possibly at Erith. A paddle steamer on the left draws the viewer’s gaze to the multitude of sailing barges and warehouses on the right, illustrating London’s position as one of the most essential ports in northern Europe, at the height of Empire.
Its backing board marked with the VENTE DAUBIGNY stamp, our drawing passed through the auction of the artist’s estate in 1878. Another drawing from Daubigny’s English visit, showing boats along the banks of the Thames, also possibly at Erith, Rives de la Tamise, was with Paul Prouté, Paris (fig. X);¹ a painting of comparable subject, La Tamise à Erith (fig. X), is in the Musée du Louvre.²
A landscape painter of integral importance to the Barbizon school, whose contemporaries included Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875), Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867), and Jean-François Millet (1814-1875), Charles Daubigny is equally important for his role as a bridge between the Barbizon artists and the Impressionists. His friend and disciple, Frédéric Henriet (1826-1918), writing in defense of Daubigny’s work in 1857 in l’Artiste, described its three main attributes: sincerity, in working from nature en plein-air; luminosity, in using a palette which imbued his work with light; and spontaneity, in the use of rapid, loose brushstrokes to capture an instant, an “impression” of the scene at hand.³ While French artists had worked directly from nature since at least the late eighteenth century, it was the latter two aspects of Daubigny’s work, its luminosity and attempt at capturing a fleeting moment, which influenced the work of a new generation of artists in the 1860s. Daubigny revolutionized landscape painting by taking the approach and techniques of the plein-air sketch, rapid and free in execution, and applying them to finished landscapes. While initially criticized for the loose and sketchy handling of his finished paintings, it was precisely Daubigny’s freedom of execution that paved the way for the Impressionist work of Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891), Eugène Boudin (1824-1898), Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Claude Monet (1840-1926), and others.
The present sheet was purchased in Daubigny’s posthumous sale by the Baron de Beurnonville, whose collection comprised around 1,000 paintings, as well as drawings, sculpture, furniture, and objets d’art. Most of the paintings were of the Dutch, Flemish, and German schools of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, and included works by Hugo van de Goes, Hans Memling, Jan van Eyck, Jan Gossart, Hendrick Goltzius, Rembrandt, and Rubens. Our drawing was subsequently owned by the Parisian art dealer and collector, Albert Bouasse-Lebel. It was purchased in a sale in Paris in 1937 by the comte Arnauld Doria (1890-1977), an art historian and collector whose grandfather, the comte Armand Doria (1824-1896), Mayor of Orrouy from 1864 to 1896, amassed one of the most important collections of French nineteenth-century drawings of the Romantic, Barbizon, and Impressionist schools. His collection included multiple sheets by Delacroix, Corot, Rousseau, Millet, Jongkind, and Boudin. Over 300 drawings were sold in his posthumous sale at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris, 8-9 May 1899. The drawing comes directly by descent through the family of the comte Arnauld Doria.
Conté crayon, 252 x 442 mm ; M. Fidell-Beaufort, J. Bailly-Herzberg, Daubigny, la vie et l’oeuvre, Paris, 1975, pp. 226-27, cat. no. 204, illustrated.
Oil on panel, 38 x 67 cm; ibid., pp. 158-59, cat. no. 93, illustrated.
See R. L. Herbert, Barbizon Revisited, San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Toledo, Toledo Museum of Art, Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of. Art, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 27 September 1962-28 April 1963, pp. 47-48.