François-Louis Français (1863 - 1933)

Le Mont Cervin, soleil couchant – a study


Le Mont Cervin, soleil couchant – a study

oil on canvas
24 x 60in (61 x 152.5cm)
signed lower right

Peaks & Glaciers 2019

Français’s panorama was a preparatory oil sketch for his large Le Mont Cervin, soleil couchant which was bought by the French State at the 1878 Salon and now hangs in the Musée Calvet in Avignon. The picture divided opinion amongst the Salon’s art crictics; many argued that the mountains and glaciers could never lend themselves to the picturesque where others saw the rhetoric of the sublime –especially against the contemporary context of mountaineering. Irrespective of its impact, the subject matter was quite a departure for both François-Louis Français and from the
prevalent history and impressionist subjects. In 1995 the Avignon painting was included in the pioneering exhibition Landscapes of France – Impressionism and its rivals shown at London’s Hayward Gallery and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The 1878 Salon jurors were evidently a
forward thinking committee: Français received a Medal of Honour for his Mont Cervin.