Cernay-la-Ville, c. 1882
oil on canvas
41.2 x 33.1 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mrs. Douglas S. McMurray
In this French woodland scene, Allan Edson demonstrates the tremendous facility he garnered from his sustained formal studies in Europe. He established a reputation as one of Canada’s finest landscape painters during the 1870s, while he was based in Montreal, where his colleagues included Otto Jacobi. In the early 1880s he returned to Europe, settling in Cernay-la-Ville, France, to study with Léon Germain Pelouse, a member of the influential Barbizon school of landscape painting. In this work Edson uses sunlight filtered by a forest canopy to explore a complex interplay of illuminated and dark forms. The artist had only a brief opportunity later to adapt these compositional interests to the Canadian landscape when he returned to Quebec in 1887, as he died the following year.