Description

    ALEXANDRE-HYACINTHE DUNOUY (French 1757-1841)
    View Toward A Fortress And Mountain Lake, circa 1830
    Oil on beveled mahogany panel partially reinforced with glued fabric (verso)
    13-3/8 x 8-1/4 inches (34 x 21 cm)
    Initialed at lower right: AD
    Old auction stencil (verso): SE311

    Provenance:
    Private collection;
    Sale, Lauren, Guilloux, Buffetaud, December 1, 2001, Lot 13

    One of the most interesting and least known periods of French landscape painting, from the 1780s through the 1830s, coincides with the career of the exceptionally gifted landscapist, Alexandre-Hyacinthe Dunouy-the author of the present painting of the Italian campagna. Dunouy's work forms a significant artistic bridge between Claude Lorraine's classical landscapes which are based upon specific pictorial conventions for organizing space, and the more casually composed plein-air paintings of Corot, which prize the transitory, emotionally-charged effects of light and atmosphere achieved only by working directly from nature. This meticulously-rendered vertical landscape possesses characteristics of Dunouy's later manner, when atmosphere and a tangle of vegetation (closer to what is observable in nature) assume greater importance than clear spatial recession.

    A native of Paris, Dunouy began his career under the tutelage of the painter Briand, depicting views of the city and the surrounding region. During the 1780s, the young artist traveled to Italy where the landscape in and around Rome and Naples (where he resided from 1783 to 1789) profoundly affected the direction of his art, inspiring numerous small-scale landscape compositions which he exhibited regularly at the Paris Salons throughout the 1790s. It is very likely Dunouy met the influential French landscapist Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819) during his travels as his work suggests some of his influence. Valenciennes holds a position of considerable importance in the history of landscape painting of the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. In 1800 he published the influential treatise on landscape painting Eléments de perspective pratique, à l'usage des artistes, suivis de Réflexions et conseils à un élève sur la peinture, et particulièrement sur le genre du paysage (which was still read by Camille Pissarro in the 1860s). In this book, Valenciennes recommended an almost systematic program of study by painting oil sketches outdoors, to train the hand and eye of the young painter to capture nature's many changing faces. This theory was based on Valenciennes' own practice: since the early 1780s he had been painting a variety of oil studies in the open air, including a notable series executed during a period of study in Rome, between 1782 and 1785, most of which are now in the Louvre, Paris. Although he advocated a systematic approach to landscape, Valenciennes also stressed, "Work in haste, so as to seize nature as she is."

    Like Valenciennes, Dunouy produced numerous oil sketches outdoors, paying particular attention to the sky. Valenciennes placed great importance on the study of the sky because it is the main source of light in landscape painting. He recommended that the artist should paint such studies of the sky and its cloud formations in order to learn the different ways light modifies the appearance of nature. In the present pair of paintings, Dunouy's skies, like Valenciennes', are both accurately and poetically detailed.

    Upon his return to France, Dunouy was engaged by Louis XVIII to oversee an important scheme of decorative works for a number of palaces including Fontainebleau. Dunouy exhibited regularly from 1791 until 1833 at the Paris Salon and received Medals of Honor in 1819 and again in 1827. He is known to have traveled to Italy again in 1810 under the patronage of the King of Naples, Joachim Murat, and from 1810 until 1815 he received numerous commissions from Murat's wife and Napoleon's youngest sister, Caroline Bonaparte. Dunouy is also associated with the Auvergne, Savoy, and the area around Lyon.

    Dunouy was also an accomplished engraver, executing over thirty engravings after his paintings and drawings. His works are found in numerous museums including Chateau-Thierry, Cherbourg, Compiegne, Epinal, Lyon, Orléans, the Marmottan and Carnavalet in Paris, Stockholm, Versailles (a scene showing his patron's brother-in-law, Napoleon, and Pius VII meeting in the forest of Fontainebleau), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Le Palais Royal et le port à Naples, an early work of circa 1780).



    Condition Report*:

    slight bow to panel, one circular area to the upper right corner (7/8 inch, diameter), verticle passage to upper left margin (2 inches long), verticle area to the upper center (2 x 1 inch), surface cleaned with scattered strengthening to foreground

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2007
    25th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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