The exhibit “Barbizon” will continue through June 29 at the Huntington Museum of Art.
The exhibit consists of pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. Artists of the Barbizon School differed in age, working technique, artistic background and lifestyle. The Barbizon School was not an official art academy, but rather an association that serendipitously formed beginning in the 1820s in the Forest of Fontainebleau, and the many hamlets surrounding the forest — especially the small town of Barbizon. At the time, the Forest of Fontainebleau was a dense forest of 42,000 acres. A number of artists took up residence there, some year-round, many just for the summer. All came to escape the city and its encroaching industrialized society. These artists included Théodore Rousseau, Jean-Françoise Millet, Narcisse Diaz de la Pena, Camille Corot, Charles-Françoise Daubigny and many others who concentrated on landscape and scenes of rural life. Collectively these artistic pioneers championed landscape painting at a time when the French art academies and the official salon did not.
Artists of the Barbizon School were particularly admired by American collectors, and were a particular favorite of one of the Huntington Museum of Art’s founders, Herbert Fitzpatrick. In 1952, he donated more than 25 important paintings by artists of the Barbizon School.
In subsequent years, other area collectors have added to this legacy collection, including Mary H. Resener, Dr. and Mrs. Don H. Titus, and Dr. John and Amber Haid. These French artists who pioneered painting out-of-doors greatly influenced, and were eventually eclipsed by a younger generation of artists — the impressionists.
For more information, visit hmoa.org or call (304) 529-2701.