Charle-Olivier De Penne

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Biography of Charle-Olivier De Penne ( 1831-1897 )

In the wake of his masters, Charles-Olivier de Penne is particularly renowned for his animal paintings and his figurations of hunting scenes. Born in Paris in 1831, the artist had an academic education at the Paris School of Fine Arts, where he chose to join the studio of Léon Cogniet, a French neoclassical and Romantic painter and lithographer who devoted most of his time to teaching. Indeed, Cogniet has more than 900 students. Among them we find Rosa Bonheur, Edgar Degas, Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier and Théodore-Auguste Rousseau. In a second phase, he also studied in Barbizon with Charles-Emile Jacque, a French painter, aquafortist and engraver, renowned for his realistic painting and animal representations. 

Initially devoting his work to history painting, the painter presented his artistic production for the first time at the 1855 Salon. Two years later, he exhibited one of his canvases entitled Château de Dunois à Châteaudun. The same year, in 1857, the artist was awarded the second Grand Prix de Rome, with his religious subject: Jesus and the Samaritan woman

Shortly afterwards, Charles-Olivier de Penne abandoned history painting and religious subjects in favour of landscape painting. He therefore left the Parisian capital, to survey the Barbizonnais soil, a geographical centre where a multitude of landscape painters followed in the wake of Camille Corot. In this context, they devoted themselves to figurations based on nature, devoid of any mannerist style. Accompanied by their easels and tubes of colour in flexible metal, invented in 1841 by an American painter named John Goffe Rand, the artists left their studios in quest of new colours. 

Indeed, under the influence of his visits to Barbizon, Charles-Olivier de Penne devoted himself mainly to landscape painting. Views of the Loir River, animal figures, hunting and venery scenes multiply in his artistic production. He acquired a property in Barbizon, where he settled until 1879, and then moved to Marlotte, a village near Fontainebleau. In addition to his exhibitions at the Salon, the artist chose to present his paintings on the picture rails of the Salon des Artistes Français. From 1872 onwards, he dedicated himself mainly to dog and venery figures and was awarded a third class medal, while in 1883 he obtained a second class medal. His work was also presented at the 1889 Universal Exhibition. Charles-Olivier de Penne exhibited his subjects until his death in 1897.

This oil on canvas by Charles-Olivier de Penne shows a hunting scene. Here, a deer is surrounded by a group of dogs at rest, caught in the middle of the action. Trapped, the animal remains motionless, plunged halfway into a watery expanse. With this painting, the painter manages to establish a dialogue between the shades: indeed, the red coat of the deer echoes the orange tones appearing in the background. In addition, the artist has paid particular attention to the rendering of textures and light. The surrounding vegetation is magnified by the painter's free and precise touch. His qualities of observation, developed during his many stays in Barbizon, can be found in this particularly harmoniously composed canvas.



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