Fig. 02

Rückseite mit Händler- und Formatschablonierung

Brief Report

Since the early 1890s, Guillaumin had painted numerous views of the rock formations in the little seaside town of Agay on the Côte d’Azur [Gray 1996, p. 50], among them the Rock at Baumette Point, which, according to an inscription verso was painted in January 1893 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon [“Rocher à la pointe de la Baumette Jer 93 4h”, figs. 2, 7]. An exact dating such as this is the best possible evidence for the work’s having been painted en plein air, and is nothing unusual in the œuvre of Guillaumin, who, as far as is known, painted predominantly outdoors all his life. The figure “4” is also to be found on the bottom foldover edge of the canvas, maybe also a note by the artist as a quick reminder, when the picture was in transport or storage, of the time of day he had painted it (fig. 7).

Another indication of its being painted outdoors can be found at the top edge in the form of a semicircular impression in the still wet paint. It could have been made by the fastener used to hold the picture to the inside of the lid of a commercially available painting box (fig. 12). The picture was painted on a densely woven standard P 8 canvas pre-primed in white, and bears verso the stencil of the Parisian dealer Tasset & l’Hôte (fig. 2).

The ground does not adhere well to the support, presumably a result of the manufacturing process, and also shows abrasions, discolorations and losses due to careless handling of the primed canvas before it was painted, either by the dealer or by the artist himself. For various reasons, the white ground looks altogether darker today than originally, and thus visually resembles an unprimed canvas, such as Guillaumin often used in other works [Callen 2000, p. 67] (fig. 9). Using a black graphite or lead pencil, the artist rapidly sketched a few contours of the horizon and rock on the white ground, before completing the subsequent painting with dynamic lineation in presumably just two or three working sessions (fig. 11). A few fina l corrections, accents and additions, as well as the signature, followed after the paint was dry (fig. 9).

Armand Guillaumin
Cliff at the Cape of La Baumette, 1893, oil on canvas, 33.0 x 46.0 cm, WRM Dep. FC 559

Armand Guillaumin

born on 16 February 1841 in Paris,
died on 26 June 1927 in Orly, Val-de-Marne south of Paris

Brief report with complete data as downloadable pdf-file

Further illustrations:

Fig. 02

Verso with colourmen and format stencelling

Fig. 03

Raking light

Fig. 04

Reflected light from an angle

Fig. 05

Transmitted light

Fig. 06

UV fluorescence

Fig. 07

Detail top, pencil inscription verso with indication of time when picture was painted “Jer 93 4 h” [Fr. Janvier 1893, 4 h; Engl. January 1893, 4 o’clock [pm]]; detail bottom, pencil
inscription with the figure “4” on the bottom foldover edge,
presumably a further indication of the exact time of the painting

Fig. 08

Detail, right-hand turnover edge with traces of corrosion
caused by the original tacks and the drying edge of an insulation coat rich in binding agents, applied to the ground

Fig. 09

Detail, signature

Fig. 10

The last paint applications were executed wet-in-wet
on the already dry paint-layer, microscopic photograph
(M = 1 mm)

Fig. 11

Mapping of the visible underdrawing lines in the IR reflectogram (detail bottom left)

Fig. 12

Detail, semicircular impression in the wet paint, due presumably to the fastener used to hold the picture to
the inside of the lid of a standard commercial painting box of the time