Charles François Daubigny (1817 - 1878), c. 1876
oil on canvas,
89 cm x 130 cm
The Mesdag Collection, The Hague
Daubigny paid regular visits to the coastal village of Villerville-sur-Mer in Normandy. There he painted various seascapes, including this sunset. Daubigny applied the paint with quick, broad brushstrokes and a palette knife. That makes the painting look as though it was completed in one sitting. In reality, he made changes to it several times.
Daubigny's use of bright colours, such as intense yellows, oranges and pinks, probably reflects the influence of the French Impressionists. At their first exhibition in 1874, those young painters had caused a commotion with their colourful, swiftly painted impressions of natural scenes.
Daubigny's setting sun is most reminiscent of Claude Monet's Impression soleil levant, the painting that gave Impressionism its name. Monet and Daubigny were friends, and both benefited from their artistic interaction.