Early in the summer of 1873 a gentleman in his mid-fifties stepped off the train in a small village station in the north of the Dauphiné. His name was Johan Barthold Jongkind, a Dutchman born in Lattrop, a hamlet in the rural Netherlands, near the border with Germany. Jongkind had spent nine years studying in the Hague before moving to Paris in March 1846, where he had been invited to work in the studio of the artist Eugène Isabey. For Jongkind was himself an artist, one of those who had started to experiment with light and shade, one of those who in Paris people had begun to refer to as impressionnistes
Jongkind had come down from Paris to visit Jules Fesser
, the son of Jongkind's companion Jos√©phine Fesser, who was also an artist. Jongkind was to spend the summers from 1873 to 1877 in a small house overlooking the château of Pupetières, near the village of Virieu. As soon as the fine weather arrived "Father Jonquil", as he came affectionately to be called, would roam the Bourbre Valley setting up his easel wherever the lanes and his fancy took him.
Jongkind's house and the château of Pupetières
Five years later, in August 1878, Jongkind moved to the Villa Beau-Séjour at La Côte-Saint-André, a property that had been recently bought and renovated by Jules Fesser with a studio for his mother and the artist. This marked the start of a new, equally fertile period in his art, devoted mainly to water-colours of La Côte-Saint-André and the landscapes around it.
The Villa Beau-Séjour at La Côte-Saint-André
Although Jongkind was to return regularly to Paris for the winter months, he was adopted by the area and came to refer to himself as a real "peasant of the Dauphiné". The hundred or so works that he created here prove how these green and gentle valleys cast their spell on the early impressionist. Jongkind died in the region on 9 February 1891. He was laid to rest in the cemetery of La Côte-Saint-André, where Jos√©phine was to join him only a few months later.
Convinced that an encounter with the place an artist has lived can indeed reveal the spirit underlying the work itself, our association
Dans les pas de Jongkind en Dauphiné is keen to bring Jongkind and his work to a wider audience, through encounters with the art of his Dauphiné period and the sites he so memorably frequented.
Take a wander through these pages and don't hesitate to head our way. We can show you the path, on foot or by road, to Jongkind's old haunts, on a journey back to the artist and his landscapes.
Dans les pas de Jongkind en Dauphiné
(In the steps of Jongkind in the Dauphiné)
Association founded in 2005.
Mairie de Virieu - 2 rue de Barbeni√®re - 38730 Virieu - France