Pair of views “Andelys” by DEFAUX Alexandre (1826-1900)

(dated 1875)

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Beautiful pair of landscapes of the French village “Les Andelys” located in Normandy. These picturesque views show this beautiful place on the riverside of the Seine, in the Gambon Valley. The rocky white hills are characteristic. The painter created a mysterious atmosphere in these animated scenes. One signed and dated 1875 lower right. The oils on canvasses have been cleaned and relined. The frames have been restored with gold leaves.

Size: H 38cm x W 46cm – H54cm x W 61cm

French School of the second part of the 19th century.

Lit: Alexandre Defaux was born in Bercy, a town then on the outskirts of Paris. Mainly known for his oil paintings, Defaux also practices pastel and watercolour. He is a figure of the second generation of painters of the Barbizon School in the line of Jean-Baptiste Corot (of whom he was a pupil) and Jean-François Millet. His early landscapes reflect Corot’s influence, with large panoramic urban views and figures in peasant costume. He painted almost exclusively in the Barbizon region or in Normandy.

During the 1850s, Defaux painted several views of picturesque Normandy towns and large medieval churches, images that were very popular with both French and foreign tourists. He sent views of quarries around Montmartre and the undergrowth of the Fontainebleau region to the 1859 Salon. He adopted stronger colour combinations and more pictorial techniques which suggest influences extending to other Barbizon artists such as Théodore Rousseau or Narcisse Díaz de la Peña. Defaux exhibited regularly at the Salon until 1897. He was praised by critics for his skill in handling painters’ tools: brush or knife. His “Forêt de Fontainebleau”, presented out of competition at the 1879 Salon, was acquired by the French state, as was his large canvas of the Breton cliffs and the port of Pont-Aven, acquired in 1880 (Now in the Orsay Museum).

The end of the 1870s and 1880s seems to have been a successful period for Defaux, with good reviews during the decade of the 1880s. Defaux’s work was particularly appreciated for its ability to combine strong pictorial techniques with pleasant subjects and a passion for the French countryside. He was awarded a gold medal at the 1900 Universal Exhibition. His works are kept in French museums. Alexandre Defaux received the insignia of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1881.

Some prestigious collections owning works by the artist include the Musée d’Orsay, the Sao Paulo Art Museum, the Fine Arts Museum of Rouen, Rennes, Brest, Caen and Angers, the Musée de Vendôme and the Cultural Agency of the Netherlands Art Collection.

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