Landscape with a Bare Tree and a Plowman

Object Details

Title:

Landscape with a Bare Tree and a Plowman

Artist/Maker(s):

Léon Bonvin (French, 1834 - 1866)

Culture:

French

Date:

1864

Medium:

Pen and brown ink, watercolor, and gum arabic

Dimensions:

18.1 x 16.2 cm (7 1/8 x 6 3/8 in.)

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Focusing on a bare tree, Léon Bonvin drew its web of branches in extreme detail. Beginning with the wiry bush at the left, moving on to the tree, then taking in a plowman and finally a distant town, he subtly leads the viewer through space. He suggested a setting sun through the golden glow backlighting the tree and the scene's pervasive stillness. Bonvin's careful structuring of this landscape, which alternates between wide panorama and minuscule detail, lends the image the complexity and completeness of an oil painting. The exquisite detail and vulnerable, melancholy mood characterize much of his work.

As always, Bonvin made this watercolor as an independent work without a commission. By the 1860s, he made watercolors exclusively. His imaginitive mixing of pen and ink with watercolor combines precision with a delicate tonality that recalls early photography.

Provenance

Art Market, Paris

Exhibitions
The Compositional Drawing from the 16th to the 19th Century (April 16 to June 30, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 16 to June 30, 1996
Landscape Drawings 1500 - 1900 (June 9 to August 23, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 9 to August 23, 1998
To Create a Living Art: 19th Century Drawings (May 1 to July 15, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 15, 2001
Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900 (June 5 to September 9, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 5 to September 9, 2007
Capturing Nature's Beauty: Three Centuries of French Landscapes (July 28 to November 1, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 28 to November 1, 2009