This early 20th-century charcoal drawing by Swiss artist Frank Charles Peyraud (1858-1948) depicts a river landscape with boatmen.
As a young man training in Paris, Peyraud sought to convey feeling by capturing nature in its various moods. “While I paint, I feel the emotions which I try to impress upon my work. My view of art is that we should paint what we feel.”
Here, in this work from 1881, he depicts a river view in charcoal - it’s subdued, muted, introspective. Two figures stand on the bank alongside a small boat. Beyond them, the distant water’s edge is met by a line of trees, which open in a V shape. Note how the artist places the boat below the opening to add interest to the composition.
Two months after producing this study, Peyraud moved to America, eventually settling in Chicago, which adds a sense of poignancy to this thoughtful little drawing.
“We may paint both happiness and sadness; the glory of the sunset; the hope and exhilaration of the dawn; the melancholy and peacefulness of the twilight, and the dreamy calmness of the night. All the tumult of nature and beauty comes close to the human heart.”
Signed/dated lower right and held within a later frame.
Medium: Charcoal on paper laid on board
Overall size: 21½” x 15½” / 54cm x 49cm
Year of creation: c. 1881
Labels & Inscriptions: Parisian supplier’s label on reverse.
Condition: Spots of age-related discolouration, minor foxing.
Artist’s auction maximum: £8,881
Frank Charles Peyraud
Frank Charles Peyraud trained in Switzerland and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His works are held in numerous collections, particularly in Chicago where he exhibited frequently including at the Chicago Galleries Association.