Narcisse Virgilio Diaz (1807-1876)

Path in the Forest of Fontainebleau, c. 1850-1860

Pastel on paper laid down on canvas, H. 0.4 m; W. 0.56 m

Provenance: Private collection

Narcisse Diaz de la Peña, who was born in France to Spanish immigrant parents, was orphaned as a young child and raised by a vicar. Like Dupré, Troyon and later Renoir, Diaz started out as a porcelain painter.

In 1837, Diaz met Rousseau. Rejecting tradition, the painters of the Barbizon School abandoned Italy and turned towards new sites. Diaz alternated time spent in the Forest of Fontainebleau and travels that brought him from Normandy to the Pyrenees.

Our painting is part of a series of countless landscapes painted in the Forest of Fontainebleau. Typical for Diaz are the cursory and lively treatment, the expressive force of the trees, the russet light and romantic storm-filled sky.