Oil painting

Sailing boat and rowing boat

ca. 1855 (painted)

Bocion, François

Height: 22.2 cm estimate, Width: 30.5 cm estimate

1590-1869 PDP

Oil Painting, 'Sailing Boat and Rowing Boat', François Bocion, Swiss school, ca. 1855

A sailing boat and a rowing boat sailing side by side in a bay, the spire of a church on the left and mountains in the background.

François Bocion (1828-1890) was born in Lausanne. He first trained with Christian Gottlieb Steinlen (1779-1847) in Vevey and subsequently with François Bonnet (1811-1894) in Lausanne. In Paris in 1845, Bocion entered the atelier of Louis-Aimé Grosclaude (1784-1869) and later that of Charles Gleyre (1806-1874) and befriended Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) and other important exponents of the Realist movement. Back in Lausanne in 1849 he became a teacher at the Ecole moyenne et industrielle of Lausane, a position he held until his death. At the same time, he had an extensive output with several travels abroad. He exhibited in Paris, Vienna, Anvers, London and was a founder member of the Swiss society of watercolorists (1884). This painting was probably executed shortly after Bocion's return to Lausanne and inaugurates one of the main thematic of the artist: lake views. Bocion focused here on the rendering of a bright sunlight through subtle backlighting effect, especially on the boat reflecting on the water surface, in a broad albeit restrained brushwork. The attention on atmospheric effect and the direct observation of nature were characteristic of the Realist movement emerged in France in the 1840s. This painting is a fine example of his oeuvre characterised by peaceful scenes dominated by imposing mountains in the distance.

Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, listed in the 1868 post-mortem register of the contents of his villa in Lausanne (V&A R/F MA/1/T1181) as 'Oil on Millboard. Sailing Boat and Rowing Boat. By F. Bocion. Signed. Swiss. Present century'; bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868. Historical significance: This painting is one of a group of 16 paintings bequeathed to the museum by the Rev. Townshend who had a villa in Lausanne where he spent the winter. It is a fine example of the central thematic of lake views in Bocion's oeuvre. Probably executed shortly after his return to Lausanne from Paris, this painting witnesses the influence of the Realist painters such as Courbet and Leon Berthoud. The support suggests that the artist depicted outdoors directly after the motif but this does not exclude that he reworked the composition in his studio as Bocion used both practises. This lake view has been identified as depicted near Ouchy, south of the city of Lausanne in Switzerland at the edge of the Lake Léman (Lake Geneva). Here particularly interesting is the palette composed of hues of blue and green enlivened by touched of vivid red and orange in the figures' garments reflecting on the water surface. The focus on a group figures in the foreground is a recurrent compositional formula of the 1850s. Comparable compositions include: Comparable compositions include: Lake of Geneva, sailing boats, dated 1855, A Barge, and Sailing Boats c.1855, all three in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (see 1563-1869, 1587-1869 and 1588-1869). This painting was probably bought by the Rev. Townshend directly from the artist and displayed in his villa in Lausanne where it completed there a large collection of 19th-century landscapes paintings. The Victoria and Albert Museum owns the most comprehensive group of Bocion's paintings in the U.K.

Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

Location: In Storage

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