Adolphe Appian (French, 18181898)
Italianate Landscape with a River, 1883
Charcoal on wove paper, 7 3/8 x 10 3/4 in.
Signed and dated lower right: Appian 1883
Gift of DeCourcy E. McIntosh

Views of the French and Italian countryside dominate Adolphe Appian’s oeuvre. In his review of the Salon of 1882 the artist Gonzague Privat described the prevalence of two different landscapes styles in Appian’s works: “The first of his manners was equivalent to verdant landscapes… this was the Northern manner, one of fresh beautiful places, full of shadows. The second came from the Midi, the land of blazing lights which burn the rocks and basks thymes and lavenders…” Appian preferred charcoal — an important independent medium by the mid-19th century — for its broad tonal ranges in his plein-air studies of nature. In his monochromatic charcoal studies such as the one seen here, Appian uses these variations of tonal values to denote light, shadow, and color. Like many of his landscape compositions, Italianate Landscape with a River is dotted with little figures, in the later style of his friend Camille Corot, who never wished “to cut the umbilical cord linking nature and man.”