Narcisse Diaz de La Pena Biography
In addition to being the leading painter of the Barbizon landscape school, Diaz is also noted for the impressive body of flower pieces which he created and which evoke the brilliant lyricism also to be encountered in his landscapes and which were extensively praised by Vincent van Gogh because of their rich symphonic palette. Diaz painted a lot of small painterly flower pieces in which the flowers are cleverly indicated with deft, uncontrolled brushwork. The present sumptuous bouquet is of a more elaborate type using a decorative formula that has been used by many of Diaz?s predecessors. Also, the petals of the flowers are rendered in more detail. The simple, grayish background brings out this splashing arrangement of flowers even more prominently. Narcisse Diaz?s parents were Spanish political refugees. After Diaz was orphaned at the age of ten, he entered the household of a pastor in Bellevue, near Paris. In 1825 he was apprenticed as a colorist in Arsene Gillet?s porcelain factory. There he met Gillet?s nephew and painter Jules Dupre. He also befriended the artists Auguste Raffet, Louis Cabat and Constant Troyon. Around 1827 he was studying with Francois Souchon and copied both old masters and the contemporary Neo-classicists in the Louvre. The sixteenth-century Italian master Correggio attracted his attention above all. He developed friendships with Honore Daumier, Theodore Rousseau and Paul Huet. From 1835 onwards Diaz spent much time in the woods of Fontainbleau. He exhibited at the Salon from 1831 to 1844 and was acclaimed throughout, receiving numerous honorary medals. Diaz?s output comprises various subjects and ranges from simple flower still lifes to classical mythology as well as themes set in the Near East as popularized by Eugene Delacroiz. In his later years he lived in Barbizon and concentrated on dramatically charged and realistically rendered landscapes that influenced the Impressionists-to-be, most of whom he met in 1863.