The Frick Collection
The West Gallery of The Frick Collection
Special Exhibition

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  dated 1856

Léon Bonvin (1834–1866)
The Plain of Vaugirard
dated 1856
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.