Charles François Daubigny was born in Paris on the 15th of February 1817. He came from a family of painters. His father, Edme, was a pupil of Bertin. His uncle Pierre and his future aunt also followed the same path.
He began his career as a student of Senties, a since forgotten academic painter. The official teaching passed by the competition of the Historical Landscape. The traditional trip to Italy was essential. With another student he travelled to Genoa. On the way he lingered south of Lyon and there he discovered the landscapes of the Dauphiné and of the Isère. No paintings executed in Italy are known, the artist may have destroyed them or left them there, but thanks to this trip he was able to compete in the Prix de Rome of 1837 in the Historical Landscape section. He failed the initial competition and never tried again.
His first paintings were exhibited at the Salon of 1852 where the French State purchased two
canvases: La Moisson et une Vue prise des Bords de Seine.
In 1853 Daubigny met Corot and together they travelled to the Isere at the request of the painter Ravier. He was originally from Lyon but lived in Crémieu in the Dauphiné which gave him a better opportunity to let the two artists discover the region.
Daubigny exhibited four canvases at the Exposition Universelle of 1855, one of which was l’Ecluse dans la vallée d’Optevoz.
In 1857 the French State commissioned a work le Printemps which was exhibited at the Salon that year. Charles François Daubigny was already famous, some of his works were made in to lithographs by other artists and then circulated.
He was always fascinated by water, those reflections in rivers, ponds and later the sea.
To be able to grasp the themes of the changing reflections of the river, he acquired in 1857 a modest river boat, the Botin, on which he built a studio. Equipped with a cabin it allowed him to fully integrate the world of rivers and streams of which he was one of the best and most talented observers.
Les Marais d’Optevoz, a large canvas from a French private collection has not been seen since the Sarlin Sale in 1918.
Known from the print and photograph, it is exhibited for the first time in almost a century.
The bright and amazing colours of the trees, the marvelous reflections in the water of the ponds where a few ducks swim along with the transparency of a bright blue sky make this an important Pre-Impressionist work prefiguring works by Monet, Sisley and Caillebotte.