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Louis Gabriel Eugène Isabey
(French, 1803 -1886 )

Painter and printmaker, son of Jean-Baptiste Isabey. He spent his earliest years in the Louvre among such artists as François Gérard and the Vernet family, and at 7 rue des Trois Frères at the foot of Montmartre. His first works, mostly landscapes in watercolor, painted on the outskirts of Paris, display an independent character that owes little to the influence of his father or the other artists among whom he had lived. In 1820 he traveled to Normandy with his father, Charles Nodier and Alphonse de Cailleux, the future director of the Louver. In 1821 he visited Britain with Nodier and discovered British painting; it is uncertain whether Isabey ever met Richard Parkes Bonington (his father certainly knew him), but Bonington's free watercolor technique had a decisive influence on his development. Isabey's admiration for Géricault, the advice of his friends and a passionate temperament also helped to form his style which was characterized by skillfully worked brushstrokes and a preference for impasto rather than glazing. Between 1821 and 1824 Isabey seems to have returned to Normandy several times, painting on the coast between Le Havre and Dieppe. At the Salon of 1824 he exhibited a series of seascapes and landscapes (untraced), which helped to establish his reputation.


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