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DIAZ DE LA PEÑA, Narcisse Virgile

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  • #403007 - DIAZ DE LA PEÑA, Narcisse Virgile: Les Confidences de l'Amour

    Les Confidences de l'Amour, 1855,
    Narcisse Virgile DIAZ DE LA PEÑA,(1807-1876)
    Oil on panel,
    14 x 11 inches,



  • #403011 - DIAZ DE LA PEÑA, Narcisse Virgile: Peasant in a Wooded Landscape

    Peasant in a Wooded Landscape, 1862,
    Narcisse Virgile DIAZ DE LA PEÑA,(1807-1876)
    Oil on cradled panel,
    9 1/2 x 13 3/4 inches,



Diaz de la Pena (1807-1876) was born on the August 21, 1807 in Bordeaux where his Spanish parents had taken refuge. Orphaned at the age of 12, Diaz was brought up by a pastor living in Meudon and spent his youth roaming about the woods. He survived the loss of a leg – the result of a snake bite. Like Renoir and so many artists of the 19th century, he began his artistic training as a porcelain painter/colorist at the porcelain factory of Jules Dupre’s uncle Arsene Gillet. He and Dupre worked together in 1823 and became friends. He also made the acquaintance of Constant Troyon. A brief apprenticeship with the painter Souchon comprised all his formal training.

His early paintings catered to the popular taste for 18th century style Rococo. Themes of Oriental women, Spanish bathers, Nymphs, and gypsy subjects with women depicted in exotic colorful Turkish garb reflected the artist’s admiration for Delacroix and his Orientalist followers. Indeed Diaz’s first Salon entry in 1831 was titled Scene Amour. From 1835 Diaz visitedBarbizon regularly spending most summers there. It was in 1837 that he met and became inspired by Rousseau and sought to emulate his precision of tree trunks. The influence of Rousseau could be seen in Diaz’s Salon entry of that year depicting a view of theFontainbleauForest. His work as a colorist and his ability to render light merged with the founders of theBarbizon school and he became known as one of the “Men of 1830.” Diaz, Rousseau and their friends had rediscovered nature together with Corot and Daubigney. Although the individual methods and concepts of theBarbizon painters differed considerably, they had in common a complete devotion to nature and a desire to be faithful to their observations. Through the 1840’s his figure paintings continued to be the major part of his work and are thought to have influenced the female subjects of Corot, Renoir, and Monticelli.

Though figure painting would always remain important for Diaz, it is his landscapes of the 1850’s, particularly ofFontainbleauForestfor which the artist is most remembered. He excelled in somber woodland interiors in which spots of light or strips of sky shining through the trees would create dramatic contrasts. His forest interiors are richly painted with warm browns, oranges, golds, and silvery tree trunks and branches. Though the artist often applied paint loosely with a broad palette knife, his observation of nature was never the less keen. He loved color and the rough texture of heavily –applied paint. A regular exhibitor at the Salon, in 1848 Diaz won a first class medal and in 1849 he received the Legion d’honneur. Diaz reached the height of his fame in 1855 at the Exposition Universal.

Prior to that he was elected a member of the Salon jury winning many medals.  Diaz’s financial success enabled him to lend a helping hand to his friends when in need including Troyon, Rousseau, and Millet. He exhibited rarely after the mid century (his last Salon was in 1859), but could usually be found in Fontainbleu, Paris and his home inBarbizon.

  •  Albertina, Vienna
  • Art Gallery of Great Victoria, Canada
  • Bordeaux Museum, France
  • Brooklyn Museum, NY
  • Canton Museum of Art, Ohio
  • Chantilly Museum, France
  • Chi-Mei Museum, Taiwan
  • Clamecy Museum, France
  • Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio
  • Courtauld Institute of Art, UK
  • Dallas Museum of Art, Texas
  • Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan
  • Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California
  • Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge, UK
  • Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, MA
  • Hermitage, Russia
  • Le Puy Museum, France
  • Londres Museum, England
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California
  • Louvre, France
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
  • Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Missouri
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN
  • Mohamed Mahoud Khalil and Wife Museum, Egypt
  • Montana Museum of Art and Culture, Montana
  • Mulhouse Museum, France
  • Musee d’Art Roger-Quilliot, France
  • Musee des Beaux-Arts and Culture, Montana
  • Museum of Amsterdam, Holland
  • Museum of Art, Toronto, Canada
  • Museum of Berlin, Germany
  • Museum of Fine Art, Boston
  • Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Massachusetts
  • Museum of Lille, France
  • Museum of Montpellier, France
  • Museum of Montreal, Canada
  • Museum of Nancy, France
  • Museum of Nantes, France
  • Museum of Reims, France
  • Museum of Stockholm, Sweden
  • Musse D’Orsay, France
  • National Gallery of Armenia, Armenia
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • National Gallery of Victoria, Australia
  • National Gallery, UK
  • National Museums and Galleries of Wales, UK
  • New Art Gallery, UK
  • Norton Simon Museum, California
  • Oglethorpe University Museum, Georgia
  • Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania
  • Puskin, Russia
  • Rijks museum, Amsterdam
  • Rouen Museum, France
  • Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri
  • St. Louis Museum of Art, MO
  • The Wallace Collection, UK
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, UK
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Art
  • Walters Gallery, Baltimore, MD