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River Landscape with Fishermen

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Documentation Ample Provenance
Documentation Notes This gouache is typical of Noël’s fully conceived river landscapes. Deftly and freely executed, it is particularly representative of the artist’s search for the expressive potential of tonal range. The garden depicted here is often repeated by the artist
Origin France
Period 18th Century
Materials Watercolor and gouache over traces of black chalk on off white laid paper
Dimensions
W. 22.25 in; H. 16 in;
W. 56.52 cm; H. 40.64 cm;
Condition Good.
Creation Date 1752-1834
Description River landscape with fishermen before a garden pavilion and church

Alexandre-Jean Noël was a noted landscape painter and one of the most proficient exponents of the gouache technique. At the age of sixteen, while still studying at the Academy, he was hired, by Abbé Chappe d’Anteroche, to join an expedition to California. Noël was charged with drawing views of the coast and the various regional subjects of natural history. Although Abbé Chappe died on the long journey, the Voyage de Californie was published, with text by Pauly, the engineer, and illustrations by Noël. Ten of the artist’s drawings for this project were bought, on the advice of Charles-Nicolas Cochin le Jeune, by Louis XV for the Cabinet du Roi, and are now in the cabinet des Dessins at the Louvre (see Inventaire Général, École Française, t. XII, no. 168-177). Noël continued to travel extensively during his career, on artistic voyages throughout France and the Iberian Peninsula. He is believed to have visited Portugal during Pillement’s artistic sojourn there. Noël exhibited at the Salon continuously from 1800 to 1822.
Working principally in gouache and often on a large scale, Noël continued in the grand tradition of Vernet by specializing in harbor scenes and river landscapes, heightened by the dramatic effects of storms, sunsets and moonlight. From Vernet, Noël inherited a Romantic approach to nature, which, in turn, stemmed from Salvator Rosa, who expressed similar proto-Romantic sentiments in his depiction of nature. The illustration of contrasting times of day evolved from the work of Claude Lorrain, by way, once again, of Noël’s master, Vernet, who carried the idiom to new heights.
This gouache is typical of Noël’s fully conceived river landscapes. Deftly and freely executed, it is particularly representative of the artist’s search for the expressive potential of tonal range. In the foreground, the earth tones of the rocky shore are emphasized by strong chiaroscuro effects created by the shadow of rock formation on the left. The spatial barrier of the foreground is elaborated by the deep blue palette of the center ground, filled with the constructs of man, and by the ethereal tones of the h ills and sky in the background. The garden pavilion and spired church, here depicted in the central middle ground of the watercolor, are forms often repeated by the artist.
Styles / Movements Other
Incollect Reference Number 305083
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