Johan Barthold Jongkind

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Biography of Johan Barthold Jongkind ( 1819-1891 )

Jongkind was born in 1819 in Lattrop, in the East of the Netherlands, in a modest family. In 1837, he took private lessons with the landscape painter Andreas Schelfhout who gave him the passion for painting outdoors.

Between 1843 and 1845, he received from the Prince of Orange a national grant of 200 florins for the "continuation of his painting" and met in 1845 Eugène Isabey, a French painter.This meeting was very important for Jongkind, who then worked for a few years in Eugène Isabey's studio in Paris. The banks of the Seine and the district of Notre-Dame became his favorite subjects. He was exhibited at the Salon in 1848 and received a third class medal in 1852. Suffering from a precarious financial situation and disappointed at having obtained no reward at the Salon of 1855, he decided to return to his native country in 1855. 

In 1860, he left for Paris and settled there. He became friends with the painters Eugène Boudin and Claude Monet, whom he guided in their artistic research. Thanks to the help of his impressionist friends, he met Joséphine Fesser, a painter of Dutch origin, who assured him a more stable life. His paintings began to be more appreciated and orders were increasing.

He participated in the Salon des refusés of 1863 with "Ruins of Rosemont Castle" (Musée d'Orsay). 

Jongkind regularly stayed in Normandy, a region he discovered in 1850. He painted the ports, and particularly Honfleur, where he set up his studio. The lighthouse and the wooden pier became the subjects of many paintings and etchings. The artist used to do his paintings in the studio, according to his sketches and watercolors made outside. 

The discovery of the countryside around the city of Nevers was for the artist a revelation. He was enthusiastic about the valleys of this region. In many works, he portrayed the life of peasants, herds and shepherds.

In August 1873, Jonkind discovered the Dauphiné region and produced many watercolors of landscapes and peasant life

For the freshness and modernity of his vision, his fragmented touch, Jongkind was rightly regarded as a precursor of Impressionism, even if the artist did not care about the intellectual aspect of his painting. The influence he had on the impressionist generation can be explained in particular by the lightness with which he suggested light, the flickering of water and air.

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