Alfred de CURZON (Moulinet, 1820 – Paris, 1895)
The riverbanks of the Clain, near the ruins of the castle in Poitiers
Signed lower left
30 x 40 cm
Exhibition: 1888, Salon of Paris under the number 2857
Native of Poitiers, Alfred de Curzon, after a time for preparing Polytechnique, enter in 1840 in the National School of Fine Arts to study in the workshop of Michel-Martin Drölling and Louis Cabat from 1845, while exposing at the Salon (with a first participation in 1843). He makes a first trip to Italy from October 1846 to October 1847. After four years at the Villa Medicis in Rome between 1850 and 1854, during which he also performs an important trip to Greece in March / July 1852 (the Roman residents can do it since 1845), he won his first medals at the Salon (1857). He painted a lot of Italian landscapes (Rome, Naples) or Greece (it is one of the first artists to widely treat this subject), which are reminiscent of those of Achille Benouville and in the tradition of the historic landscape .
Establishing himself as one of the best painters of the Second Empire, his works are purchased by the state, and even by Napoleon III for his personal collection (as Ecco fiori, flower girls recollection of Naples, in 1861, purchased at the Salon for 10 000 francs). He is highly appreciated by the little indulgent Théophile Gautier who says of him "Mr. Curzon draws monuments as an architect and it love as a painter."
Between 1870 and 1873 he lived in the area of Seyne/Mer, because of the poor health of his wife.
Today unknown to the general public, Alfred de Curzon is however present in many French museums, including Orsay and Sainte-Croix museum in Poitiers, who consecrated him a major exhibition in 1982 (16 June to 20 September).
Although he practised pastel in his youth in the late 1830s, Curzon then abandons this technique for almost his entire career. It's only by 1887-1888 that he tries again the pastel; in a letter to his faithful friend the painter Georges Brillouin (1817-1893) dated 16 August 1887, he said that he had 'practice again the pastel and find the process enjoyable', while regretting its fragility, what will soon stop him producing this type of drawings. In another letter dated 11 September, he indicates having documented again on technique and have been observing the eighteenth pastels in the Louvre. Finally, in a letter to the same Brillouin dated 15 March 1888, he says, mentioning our pastel, he just sent his works to the Salon: two paintings (In the Black Forest near Badonviller and The summit of the Apennines) and a second pastel (Graziella portrait) under No. 2856.
The dates of these letters, and regarding the abundant foliage and autumn colors, it is possible to place the period of realization of our work around August / October 1887.
This Poitevin subject is not unusual for the artist. Curzon exhibited among others two paintings at the Salon depicting the banks of the Clain River in Poitiers in 1846 (No. 447) and in 1869 (No. 593).
The view is here at the ruins of the old castle which recognizable with its tower, and Curzon deals in tonight effect at sunset. Pastel allows him to create a wispy pink and sky, which is smoothly opposed to the shadows of the vegetation.
Price : on request