c. 1859 – 78
oil on panel, 14 5/8" x 25 1/4"
Gift of Alice Tweed Tuohy
The dark drama of
large trees, rock formations and dense forests typically associated
with Barbizon painting are absent in the work of Daubigny,
who preferred quieter, less conspicuous scenes, most often
those along the Seine, Oise and Marne rivers of northern France.
In order to get as close as possible to his subject, after
1857 Daubigny painted on an improvised studio boat, dubbed
Le Botin (The Little Box). Moonrise depicts the landscape at
a particular time of day to express a mood of quiet and repose.
Daubigny uses a muted palette of mauve, tan, olive green and
aquamarine, with a bit of violet along the horizon, to capture
the fleeting nature of dusk and to construct the landscape
using large color shapes. A rising full moon, above which can
be seen the Evening Star, further describe the time of day
and the visual transition of the landscape from waning sunlight,
to moon and starlight. When he exhibited a work titled Moonrise
in the Salon of 1877, the critic Jules Castagnary noted about
Daubigny that “this artist becomes more daring as he
grows older.” Constructed with large, choppy strokes
of fluid paint, this work and others like it clearly demonstrate
why Daubigny’s approach to landscape served as a model
for Impressionism, which by the 1880s had all but eclipsed
the efforts of the Barbizon school artists.