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The Village of Saint-Paul on the Banks of the Durance, 1865

Paul-Camille Guigou

French, 1834-1871
Oil on canvas
25-1/2 x 59-1/4 in. (64.8 x 150.5 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Paul-Camille Guigou, arguably the most dedicated Provençal landscape painter of the ninteenth century, set a precedent for the most famous one, Paul Cézanne. Though it is not clear if Cézanne ever met Guigou, it was the elder artist’s glorifications of the southern French landscape to which the father of modernism turned. Here, wide expanses of brilliant sky and parched earth placed in parallel bands across the canvas reflect the extraordinary effects of the light of Provence as well as the seemingly limitless horizontality of its geography. This painting, included in the Salon of 1865 and one of Guigou’s most ambitious, securely places the artist among other mid-century landscapists, including Gustave Courbet, Théodore Rousseau and Charles Daubigny. Artistic and personal connections to a native terrain—forged deliberately outside of Paris—reflected a broader sentiment of French regionalism in the mid-ninteenth century.

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