From 1864 To 1870
The art of the 19th century was marked by a number of important changes. The Romantic Movement led to a new emphasis on emotion and the imagination, while the rise of the middle class led to a new interest in realism and the everyday. The development of photography also had a major impact on the art of the time, as artists began to experiment with new ways of using this new technology.
A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers (Madame Paul Valpinçon?)
The juxtaposition of the prominent bouquet and the off-center figure, gazing distractedly to the right, exemplifies Degas's aim of capturing individuals in seemingly casual, slice-of-life views.
The painting was preceded by a pencil drawing of the woman, also dated 1865.
Jalais Hill, Pontoise
This view of Pontoise, just northwest of Paris, helped establish Pissarro's reputation as an innovative painter of the rural French landscape.
The Forest in Winter at Sunset
This is a monumental forest scene.
It was begun early in Rousseau's career and remained unfinished at the time of his death.
It was intended to recreate the effect of a sunset he had seen in Bas-Bréau, a section of Fontainebleau forest, in December 1845.
In this painting and Cider (on view at left), Puvis developed his conception for a mural honoring the French territory of Picardy.
Here, men construct a bridge over the Somme River while women bathe and mend fishing nets.
Their draperies provide vivid accents of color amid the soft hues of the landscape.
The final versions of Cider and The River are part of a cycle decorating the Musée de Picardie in Amiens.
In the 1890s, the museum honored Puvis with a bust designed by his good friend Auguste Rodin.
A bronze cast of the bust is displayed close by.
The Rocky Path in the Morvan (Chemin des roches dans le Morvan)
Displayed in the Salon of 1869 in Paris, this impressive and variegated landscape was well-received in its day.
Its size and style are considered unusual for the artist who typically favored more realistic landscapes on a diminutive scale.
Painted in the Morvan region of central France, this landscape shows a rocky path that winds through a wooded river bank and is visited by leisurely figures.
The Woman in the Waves
In 1864-1868 Courbet undertook a series of paintings of the female nude.
He could not have failed to witness the triumph of Alexandre Cabanel's Birth of Venus (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) at the Salon of 1863, along with the popularity of similar representations by Cabanel's fellow academicians.
Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania
This is an oil study for Cropsey's monumental "Valley of Wyoming" (66.113).
The view is from a promontory called Inman's Hill, looking north across the valley, which is intersected by the Susquehanna River.
In contrast to the large, elaborately detailed canvas, the present work was painted broadly and quickly.