In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet

Overview

The Forest of Fontainebleau, located about 50 miles southeast of Paris, held a singular place in 19th-century art. Variously called “savage,” “wild,” “romantic,” and “beautiful” by visitors, Fontainebleau’s topography was viewed in many ways that reflected the sensibilities of the time. 

This is the first English-language publication to examine the significance of the region to the plein-air tradition in France. The book highlights four pivotal figures in the ...

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Overview

The Forest of Fontainebleau, located about 50 miles southeast of Paris, held a singular place in 19th-century art. Variously called “savage,” “wild,” “romantic,” and “beautiful” by visitors, Fontainebleau’s topography was viewed in many ways that reflected the sensibilities of the time. 

This is the first English-language publication to examine the significance of the region to the plein-air tradition in France. The book highlights four pivotal figures in the evolution of landscape painting: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau, Jean-François Millet, and Claude Monet. It integrates into this history the photographers who worked at Fontainebleau, including Eugène Cuvelier and Gustave Le Gray, and explores the role the forest played in the development of early photography. It also considers the reception of paintings of Fontainebleau at the Salons and the influence of Fontainebleau on the advent of Impressionism.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Accompanying an exhibition showing at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, this catalog explores the influence of the Forest of Fontainebleau on 19th-century French painting and photography from the 1820s to the 1870s. Fontainebleau's proximity to Paris (35 miles southeast) provided easy access for artists who painted landscapes directly from nature. Camille Corot was the first artist to work there; other artists, drawn to its lush woods, rugged rock formations, and rural villages, soon followed. The catalog reflects this diversity in six thematic sections: "Discovery," "Topography," "Trees," "Rocks," "Village Life," and "Nature and Observation." Curator Jones's (French paintings, National Gallery of Art) introductory essay places Fontainebleau in historical, cultural, and artistic context, and the essays that follow deal with other aspects of Fontainebleau's influence on French painting and photography. This work is unique for two reasons: it explores the evolution of French landscape art from Corot to the impressionists, and it includes photography as a crucial part of that evolution. Highly recommended for art history collections.
—Martha Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300138979
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kimberly Jones is associate curator at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Helga Aurisch is assistant curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Simon Kelly is associate curator at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. Sarah Kennel is assistant curator at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

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