Christian Zacho

Spring, Forest Of Fontainebleau, Mare Aux Fées

Christian Zacho

Spring, Forest Of Fontainebleau, Mare Aux Fées

This late 19th-century oil painting by Danish artist Christian Zacho (1843-1913) depicts a picturesque view in the Forest of Fontainebleau, near Paris.

The Mare aux Fées or ‘Fairy Pond’ is a particularly attractive area of the forest, which is steeped in myth and fantastical stories. Its beauty is derived from the combination of shimmering waters, numerous beech trees and a variety of wildlife. Many artists sought inspiration here, including Pierre Auguste Renoir and Rosa Bonheur. Legend has it that fairies scratched the surfaces of surrounding rocks leaving intriguing marks for the inquisitive traveller to explore.

In 1874, Zacho moved to Paris and trained under Camille Bernier and Leon Bonnat. During his two-year stay, he visited nearby Fontainebleau frequently, which was a popular haunt for artists due to its abundant scenery and connection with the ‘Barbizon School’ of painters. In 1875, he produced this exquisite piece depicting one of its most iconic sights.

The following year, it was exhibited at the prestigious Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition (number 316) and possibly at the Paris Salon. A review refers to its ‘white sunshine’ and describes it as a ‘beautiful studied landscape.’

It was an important time for Zacho as he was merging his interest in French ‘plein air’ painting with his traditional Danish roots. This amalgam formed the basis of a flourishing career, numerous medals, and international exhibitions. Today he’s regarded as one of the foremost Danish landscape painters of his generation.

Signed/dated lower left and held within a gilt frame from the period.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 32” x 23½” / 81cm x 60cm
Year of creation: 1875
Provenance: Winkel & Magnussen (1949) / Private collection, Denmark.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some wear and old restorations.
Artist’s auction maximum: £19,185

Christian Zacho

Christian Zacho

Christian Zacho was an accomplished, medal-winning, Danish artist predominantly known for his idyllic landscapes depicting forest views in a naturalistic style. He trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and later in Paris under Camille Bernier and Leon Bonnat. He’s represented at the Statens Museum for Kunst and Øregaard Museum.

Learn more about Christian Zacho in our directory.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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