Isidore Dagnan (born September 24, 1788 – died November 8, 1873) was a French painter and lithographer of the 19th century. The talented artist Isidore Danyan distanced himself from the foundations of academism and painted naturalistic landscapes. The artist’s work is filled with love for the world around him – Dagnan’s paintings, made in the style of realism, enchant with the spontaneity of rural life and the beauty of French nature. Unfortunately, the portrait image of the master has not survived.
Biography of Isidore Danyan
Isidore Dagnan was born on September 24, 1788 in Marseille and became the eldest of five children of the merchant Joseph Alphonse Dagnan and Rose Madeleine Julien Bertrand. The parents hoped that the boy, baptized on the second day of his life in the parish church of Saint-Martin, would become a worthy and sedate lawyer. The young man began to study law, but his soul was drawn to drawing. In 1811 he entered the School of Fine Arts in Marseille, where he got into the class of Augustin Aubert, and was so imbued with art that in 1813 he gave up studying laws and irrevocably turned to painting.
Isidore Dagnan made a lot of efforts to develop his talent, but there is no information about his studies and practice in French workshops. It is only known that he was engaged in the improvement of technology in Rome. In 1819, the young artist made his debut at the Paris Salon, where he presented the exposition “Young Romans Listening to the Shepherd Playing the Guitar” (the painting has not survived). The painter took part in the Salon again in 1822 and received a class II medal for his work “View of Lausanne”, which Louis XVIII himself acquired for the palace in Fontainebleau. And he returned for the third time in 1831 in order to win the gold award of the exhibition – the 1st class medal with the painting “Paris, view from the Cité embankment”.
From 1824 to 1830, Isidore Dagnan lived in Grenoble, where he taught drawing to Jean Achard.
While walking around the outskirts of the Isère department, Dagnan made several interesting landscape paintings. These works became interested in the artist and museum worker Benjamin Rolland, who bought them for the Grenoble Museum. Inspired by such success, Dagnan tried to open a school of landscape painting in the city, but the idea failed, and the disappointed painter left for Paris in 1830.
About a dozen paintings, painted between 1833 and 1843, Isidore Dagnan dedicated to Provence and his native Marseilles. These are enchanting seascapes and views of Avignon and Vaucluse. Later he will return to this topic again and write several works with provincial motives. At the same time, Isidore Dagnan is engaged in lithography and in 1828 released an album called “The Loire Banks”.
Dagnan admired the works of Eugène Delacroix and was known as a true admirer of romanticism, but he himself created realistic landscapes and scenes of everyday life, rather in a classical style. Over time, the artist joined the Barbizon school of painting, but did not play a significant role in the development of the group. In doing so, he gained a reputation as an excellent theorist of aerial perspective and gave lessons in his studio. One of his students was the famous Camille Pissarro. In 1836, Isidore Danyan was honored to become a Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honor.
The artist was married to Anna Marie Kraut, but they had no children. Isidore Dagnan died on November 7, 1873 in Paris on the rue Saint-Georges. In 1927, a street appeared in Marseille, named after the talented son of the seaside city.
The most famous paintings by Isidore Danyan
Isidore Dagnan’s paintings depict all the beauty of French and Swiss nature. About 60 works are attributed to the authorship of the master, but art critics consider this figure to be underestimated. The artist traveled often and for a long time and brought back bright and picturesque landscapes from each trip. Most often he painted the French provinces – these are Anjou and Touraine, Brittany and Auvergne, Dauphinet and Jura. Having visited Switzerland, the artist created about twenty works with local landscapes.
Take a look at the most famous works of Isidor Danyan:
- Port Dinan (1835) – the artist presented the painting at the Salon in 1837. For many years, the fate of the work was unknown, until in 1989 it appeared at one of the Parisian antique dealers. The Dinan Museum purchased the work for its permanent exhibition. In 2018, the painting was restored.
- “The Bridge in Avignon” (1847) – the painting was for a long time in the private collection of Count Espagnac and was bought by Jean-Pierre Pescatore for the Villa Vauban art museum in Luxembourg.
- “Lake Neuchâtel” (1850) – the work was written during a regular trip to Switzerland, to the canton of Bern. Stored at the Fabre Museum in Montpellier.