Narcisse Diaz de la Peña / Les baigneuses / after 1847Narcisse Diaz de la Peña
Les baigneuses
after 1847

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Creator Name: Diaz de la Peña, Narcisse-Virgile
Creator Qualifier: Imitator of
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1807 - 1876
Biography: Diaz de la Peña's Spanish parents, who were political refugees, died by the time he was ten years old, and Narcisse was sent to Bellevue to live with a pastor's family. Because of a snake bite, his left leg had to be amputated when he was thirteen. In 1825 he became an apprentice colorist in Arsène Gillet's porcelain factory. During his time there he met Gillet's nephew, Dupré (q.v.), and Louis Cabat (1812-1893), both associated with the group of painters working in Barbizon. In 1827 he was briefly taught by François Souchon (1787-1857) and also copied the works of Correggio (1483-1534) and Prud'hon (q.v.) in the Louvre. His own paintings were shown at the Salon from 1831 until 1859 and included subjects from the Bible, mythology, literature, and the Orient, inspired by Delacroix (q.v.) and Decamps (q.v.), as Diaz himself never traveled that far. From 1835 onward, he often visited Barbizon and the forest of Fontainebleau. Although the influence of Decamps remained, he met artists such as Théodore Rousseau (q.v.), whom he greatly admired, which resulted in many studies of trees and rocks. Apart from concentrating on lush landscapes, Diaz also used his forest scenes as backgrounds for nudes disguised as Venuses or nymphs. Such works answered a reviving taste for compositions with a rococo flavor, and Diaz readily sold his art to many collectors. From the 1840s on he became quite successful and eventually received several awards, among them the Legion of Honor in 1851. He could demand high prices for his works, and various artists began imitating his style. Diaz's financial success enabled him to support some of his friends such as Rousseau and Millet (q.v.). Diaz was one of the most eminent members of the Barbizon school of painters, a group that turned away from academic training to study directly from nature.
Gender: M
Creator Birth Place: Bordeaux, 21 August 1807
Creator Death Place: Menton, 18 November 1876
Creator Name-CRT: Narcisse Diaz de la Peña
Title: Les baigneuses
Title Type: Foreign
Title: The Bathers
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1847
Creation End Date: 1857
Creation Date: after 1847
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: oil on wood
Dimensions: Unframed: 21.8cm x 32.6cm
Inscriptions: Signed lower right in red paint: N. Diaz
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1916.1051
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade
Provenance: New York sale, Mary J. Morgan collection, American Art Galleries, 5 March 1886 (lot 169), $1,600. Purchased by J. H. Wade from Delmonico, New York, in 1890 for $1,425. Given to the CMA in 1916.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1916.1051
AMICA Library Year: 2001
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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