Narcisse Diaz de La Pena

Description: Narcissus DIAZ LA PEÑA 1807-1876 CHAGRIN Oil on panel signed lower left. 10″ x 7″

Diaz was a French painting of Spanish origins. He first worked as a porcelain painter but shortly there after started training with the artist Francois Souchon. He soon became the friend of some of the most famous exponents of the Barbizon School such as Honore Daumier, Theodore Rousseau and Paul Huet.

Diaz’s work as a colorist and his ability to render light merged with the founders of the Barbizon School. Although the individual methods and concepts of the Barbizon painters differed considerably, they had in common a complete devotion to nature and a desire to be faithful to their observations.

The overgrown Froest of Fontainebleau provided a range of pictorial motifs from ancient oaks and massive boulders to sandy pastures. Nature was depicted without the classical idealization of polish refinement of the French Academy at the time. For Diaz and the other artists of the Barbizon school, perhaps the most fundamental aspect of their practice was working “en plein air.” Not only did painting en plein air provide an opportunity to observe light effects directly, but it also provided an engagement with nature that world ensure the artistic independence of their vision. Diaz’s late landscapes are distinctive for their rich pigments and translucent glazes.

Museum collections featuring works by this artist include:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Musee d’Orsay, Paris
Musee du Louvre, Paris
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Díaz exhibited many pictures at the Paris Salon, and was decorated in 1851 with the rank of Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur. There are several examples of his work in the Louvre, and three small figure pictures in the Wallace Collection, Hertford House. Perhaps the most notable of Diaz’s works are “La Fée aux Perles” (1857, housed in the Louvre); “Sunset in the Forest” (1868); “The Storm” and “The Forest of Fontainebleau” (1870, housed at Leeds). The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds some two dozen works by Díaz, including another version of “The Forest of Fontainebleau,” and many drawings and studies.