22. François Diday, attributed to

Geneva 1802 – 1877 Geneva

Uprooted Tree

This intriguing study painted on canvas is attributed to François Diday, a pioneer of Swiss landscape painting along with his pupil Alexandre Calame (cat. 43). After his initial training in Geneva, Diday spent a few months in the Paris atelier of Baron Gros in 1823. He then travelled to Italy in 1824-25, where he painted a number of oil studies. Upon his return, he continued to paint out-of-doors in the Bernese Oberland and the region surrounding Lake Geneva. Towards the end of his life, when commenting a bequest of his works to the Classe des Beaux-Arts, Diday stated that he held a paternal affection for his studies painted “d’après nature”, and considered them the most interesting part of his artistic oeuvre.1 The fallen or uprooted tree is a recurring theme in Diday’s alpine oil sketches. This unfinished study – with its tangle of stumps, roots, and branches set against an almost abstract background – appears strikingly modern. The inscription at lower left suggests it was painted close to Belalp in the Swiss Alps.

1“Je considère ces études peintes d’après nature comme la partie la plus intéressante de mon œuvre d’artiste et je prie la Classe des beaux-arts d’avoir égard à l’affection toute paternelle que je leur porte”, http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:8XpX23tafmsJ:www.sikart.ch/PdfRendererLexikon.aspx%3Fid%3D4022884%26pdf%3D1+&cd=4&hl=fr&ct=clnk&gl=fr&client=firefox-b-d.