Claude Monet (1840-1926), Autumn on the Seine, Argenteuil (1873), oil on canvas, 54.3 × 73.3 cm, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA. Wikimedia Commons.
For those of us who live beyond the Tropics, I look on autumn/fall as being compensation in advance for what we’re about to suffer in the winter, and Spring as our reward for getting through. In this and the next article, I’d like to celebrate over three centuries of magnificent paintings of the spectacle which we enjoy during the autumn. I will keep my commentary to a minimum, and just let you enjoy these marvellous paintings.
One of Rubens’ last paintings, made during his ‘retirement’ and probably within five years of his death, it shows his manor house Het Steen, near Antwerp. Notice how even he remains timid in using the rich colours of autumn which he could see very clearly. Few landscape painters dared let rip with rich reds and golds until the nineteenth century.
One of Poussin’s late and brilliant paintings of the four seasons. Being based in Rome most of his career, his emphasis is on the late harvest rather than colour change in foliage.
The rolling chalk hills and valleys in the south-east of England.
Painted from Ford Madox Brown’s landlady’s bedroom window in Hampstead, looking over Hampstead Heath and the churches of Highgate, in the suburbs of London.
Autumn Leaves (1856) is generally accepted as being the first good example of what might best be termed post-Pre-Raphaelite painting. It retains some principles, such as truth to nature and great detail, but is evocative and unashamedly sensual, inspired by Aestheticism to evoke the sounds, smells, and feel of an autumn dusk.
Hans Thoma painted this when still a student in Karlsruhe. It has the high chroma colours and gestural brushwork indicative of Impressionism, at a time when Claude Monet was still painting in a tighter, realist style.
A remote valley in the mountainous part of North Wales.
Looking over the River Hudson, which runs south to New York City, towards the Catskill Mountains to the west.
Stubble being burned on a grey and windy autumn day.
To the north-west of Paris.
On the bank of the River Seine in the centre of Paris.
Another view of the River Seine at Argenteuil near Paris.
One of the the pair of paintings by Vincent van Gogh, showing this avenue of poplars with old Roman stone sarcophagi. These were the first works that van Gogh painted after Paul Gauguin joined him in Arles, on 28-31 October 1888, when they were still getting on well together. Van Gogh also painted another pair, Falling Autumn Leaves.
One of the two paintings which Paul Gauguin made at Les Alyscamps on 28-31 October 1888, which he subtitled The Three Graces at the Temple of Venus.
One of Monet’s series of these poplars on the bank of the River Epte not far from his home and studio in Giverny.
Near Chase’s country retreat at Shinnecock on Long Island.
One of Pissarro’s huge series of paintings of Éragny on the same River Epte, to the north-west of Paris.