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Charles Jacque

1813–1894, Paris

Charles-Emile Jacque, who came from a Parisian family of artists, was one of the best known painters and printmakers of the Barbizon School. Between 1830 and 1870 this school, which earned a reputation for the nature-inspired works of art it generated, exerted a determining influence on Impressionism and European landscape painting in general. Following a brief period as an apprentice and autodidactic studies, Jacque first worked as a book illustrator and caricaturist, amongst others for the Magasin Pittoresque as well as Charivari and Caricature. He subsequently distinguished himself as an etcher, although he also experimented with other printmaking techniques such as lithography, woodcuts and zincography. As early as the 1830s he was influenced by the idyllic impressions of nature he gained during his frequent visits to the rural areas of the Bresse Region. Jacque made his debut at the Paris Salon of 1845 with his painting Truffìere showing a herd of pigs in a rocky landscape. The arrival of Jacque and his friend, Jean-François Millet, in the little village of Barbizon in the forest of Fontainebleau in 1849 was an important stimulus for the development of the colony of artists founded there by Théodore Rousseau. Jacque immersed himself here in landscape painting and etchings, which made the paysage intime into a new genre of art.