Watteau to Degas: French Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection
October 6, 2009, through January 10, 2010
Léon Bonvin (1834–1866)
The Plain of Vaugirard
Black chalk with stumping
This desolate scene represents the road alongside the Bonvin family’s inn on the outskirts of Paris. The drawing is striking for its radical simplicity of form, narrow tonal range, and variety of graphic effects. Bonvin lightly dragged the chalk broadside across the sheet to create a pearl-gray sky. With greater pressure, he achieves a deep velvety surface for the walls, and elsewhere suggests modulated light and dark by skimming the friable medium across the textured paper. The plunging perspective draws the viewer headlong to the distant horizon.