Moonlight on Water
7 x 13 7/16 in. (17.8 x 34.2 cm)
Charles François Daubigny
(1817 - 1878)
Medium and Support:
Pastel and gouache on paper laid down on paper
Gift of the estate of Charles Hutchison, by transfer from Rush Rhees Library
Location: Not currently on view
The term “impression” had been used by earlier generations of French painters, including Charles-François Daubigny, to characterize their efforts to capture the ephemeral nature of light while painting out of doors. Daubigny’s use of rapid brushstrokes to capture impressions of reflected light and shadow was a novel technique that foreshadowed those of Impressionist painters. His method of painting landscapes en plein air (“in the open air”) was particularly significant to the artistic development of the young Claude Monet. Like Monet’s Towing a Boat, Honfleur, seen nearby, Moonlight on Water shows the artist’s effort to capture the ephemeral effects of light reflected on a body of water.
Daubigny’s influence on Monet’s career was practical as well: he introduced the young artist to the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who was one of the most important advocates of the Impressionists. Durand-Ruel became Monet’s dealer, which assured his acceptance in the larger art world.
[Label copy from Monet: Vision and Process exhibition, 2018]
Daubigny’s landscape paintings show his clear interest in the fleeting and transient aspects of nature. His use of light and rapid brushstrokes to capture impressions of reflected light and shadow was a novel technique that foreshadowed those of Impressionist painters. Daubigny’s method of landscape painting en plein air (“in the open air”) was particularly significant to the artistic development of the young Claude Monet. During the 1860s, Daubigny spent much of his time painting as he explored the Oise River on his “studio boat;” Moonlight on Water was probably made during one of these river excursions as a study for an oil painting.
[Gallery wall label copy]