Narcisse Virgilio Díaz

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Díaz, c. 1840's: 'Self-portrait', etching on paper

Narcisse Virgilio Díaz (20 August 1807 – 18 November 1876) was a French painter of the Barbizon school, but from Spanish origin. Bright colors was characteristic for his painting style.

Quotes of Diaz[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes of Narcisse Diaz
Díaz, 1855: 'In the Forest', oil-painting on panel; current location: Louvre Museum
Díaz, 1868: 'Forest of Fontainebleau', oil-painting on canvas; location: Dallas Museum of Art, Texas - quote of Albert Wolff, c. 1885: 'He renders the enchantments of the landscape flooded with sunshine or the forest plunged in luminous twilight, with beams filtering through the thick leafage..'
Díaz, 1870: 'The Approaching Storm', oil-painting on canvas; current location: Norton Simon Museum, California - quote of Albert Wolff, c. 1885: 'Anything serves him as a pretext for bringing to light his marvelous aptitude as a colorist..
  • What does it matter! [poverty], One of these days I shall have carriages and a golden crutch. My brush will win them for me.
    • Quote of Diaz, c. 1830-34; as quoted by Arthur Hoeber in The Barbizon Painters – being the story of the Men of thirty – associate of the National Academy of Design; publishers, Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York 1915, p. 139
  • At last, here is a new man [ Millet ], who has the knowledge which I would like to have, and movement, color, expression, too, - here is a painter!
    • Quote of Diaz, 1844; as cited by fr:Alfred Sensier, in Jean-Francois Millet – Peasant and Painter, translated from the French original by Helena de Kay; publ. Macmillan and Co., London, 1881, p. 62
    • Diaz de la Peña gave this comment when he saw for the first time work of Millet: the painting 'The Riding Lessons' on the Paris' Salon of 1844
  • Patience ! They will come to it gradually! Rousseau has sold a landscape for five hundred francs; for my part, I have sold a view of Fontainebleau for seventy-five francs. And I am commissioned to ask you for companion sketches to your drawings. And this time, instead of twenty francs, they are to pay you twenty-five! (Millet replied resignedly: 'If I could only sell two drawings a week at that price all would go right!'
    • Diaz to Millet, c. 1845; as quoted by Albert Wolff, in Notes upon certain masters of the XIX century, - printed not published MDCCCLXXXVI (1886), The Art Age Press, 400 N.Y. (written after the exhibition 'Cent Chefs-d'Oeuvres: the Choice of the French Private Galleries', Petit, Paris / Baschet, New York, 1883, p. 20
    • In Paris Diaz had sold three drawings of his friend Millet for sixty francs, but Millet stayed still thoughtful, for he had to think of the morrow
  • You paint stinging-nettles, and I prefer roses.
    • Diaz, quoted by Muther; cited in The Barbizon Painters – being the story of the Men of thirty, Arthur Hoeber – associate of the National Academy of Design; publishers, Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York 1915, p. 138
    • according to Richard Muther this was the characteristic expression which Diaz used to Millet
  • Your women bathing come from the cow house.
    • Quote of Diaz to Millet, c. 1860's, viewing a Nude painting of Millet; as quoted by Arthur Hoeber in The Barbizon Painters – being the story of the Men of thirty – associate of the National Academy of Design; publishers, Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York 1915, p. 17
  • You cannot imagine the pleasure you are giving me. This woman and this infant [of an old picture, made in his early years] are my own family. The baby was in its cradle one fine summer day; the mother had fallen asleep beside it. In one hour I did the sketch from nature. It used to hang over my bed, and it cheered my awakening every day for years. Then arrived a morning when we were more in want of necessaries than usual. A dealer came along and offered me a hundred and fifty francs.. ..he insisted on taking that one in particular. As ill luck would have it, my rent was due next day. I was not in a position to be too particular. He gave me a bank note of one hundred francs, and ten hundred-sous pieces. I made him out a receipt, and he never perceived that he was carrying off a bit of my heart. Ah!, it was hard.
    • Quote of Diaz, late 1860's, recorded by Albert Wolff, in Notes upon certain masters of the XIX century, - printed not published MDCCCLXXXVI (1886), The Art Age Press, 400 N.Y. (written after the exhibition 'Cent Chefs-d'Oeuvres: the Choiche of the French Private Galleries', Petit, Paris / Baschet, New York, 1883, p. 45-46
    • Albert Wolff, the interviewer, owned this little panel, painted by a young Diaz. It was fifteen centimeters big, and presented a baby lying in a cradle with the mother, guarding it. Wolff returned it to the old Diaz

Quotes about Diaz[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes about Diaz
  • Diaz de la Pena sets out from the principle that a palette is a picture. As for overall harmony M. Diaz thinks that you will invariably find it. Of draughtmanship – the draughmanship of movement, the draughmanship of the colourists – there is no question; the limbs of all his little figures behave for all the world like bundles of rags, or like arms or legs scattered in a railway accident. I would rather have a kaleidoscope.. .It is true that M. Diaz is a colourist; but enlarge his frame by a foot, and his strength will fail him, because he does not recognize the necessity for general color. That is why his pictures leave no memory behind them.
    • Quote about Diaz, from Charles Baudelaire's 'Salon of 1846'; a quoted in The Concepts of Criticism, L. Aschenbrenner; Springer Science & Business Media, 2012, p. 46 – note 10
  • The sun has lost one of its most beautiful rays.
    • Quote of Jules Dupré, 1867, at Diaz's grave; ; as quoted by Arthur Hoeber in The Barbizon Painters – being the story of the Men of thirty – associate of the National Academy of Design; publishers, Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York 1915, p. 130
  • He [Diaz] was one of those who gave celebrity to the village of Barbizon, in the forest of Fontainebleau; he had lived there with Theodore Rousseau and Millet; with Rousseau especially, whom he considered the 'master'; in his private collection he [Diaz] had two enchanting little landscapes of his; and when you talked to Diaz of his own art, he would carry you off to the works of his great acquaintance, saying: 'Here are the bon-bons [the little landscapes of Rousseau]'.
    • Quote about Diaz by Albert Wolff, 1880's, Notes upon certain masters of the XIX century, - printed not published MDCCCLXXXVI (1886), The Art Age Press, 400 N.Y. (written after the exhibition 'Cent Chefs-d'Oeuvres: the Choice of the French Private Galleries', Petit, Paris / Baschet, New York, 1883, p. 46-47
  • In the group of [ Barbizon school-]painters beyond the average, Diaz de la Pena is the great artist of the fantastical. Anything serves him as a pretext for bringing to light his marvelous aptitude as a colorist.. .He renders the enchantments of the landscape flooded with sunshine or the forest plunged in luminous twilight, with beams filtering through the thick leafage; he dazzles the eye with all the seductions of a grand colorist.. .He is the grand virtuoso of the palette, making sport of difficulties. With him everything is of the first impulse; his work is thrown off with brio; the enchantment of the color carries it along..
    • Quote by Albert Wolff, 1880's, in Notes upon certain masters of the XIX century, - printed not published MDCCCLXXXVI (1886), The Art Age Press, 400 N.Y. (written after the exhibition 'Cent Chefs-d'Oeuvres: the Choice of the French Private Galleries', Petit, Paris / Baschet, New York, 1883, p. 47
  • The coming on of winter was always dangerous to him. In 1876, Diaz felt himself attacked by an affection of the chest which rendered all work impossible. He went to Mentone, where for an instant he seemed to revive with a new existence. It was there that he executed his last pictures. Death took him by surprise, still at his work. It was impossible to overcome this character, still full of energy, during the final sickness, unless by taking the brush from his hands and shattering it.
    • Quote about Diaz by Albert Wolff, 1886, in Notes upon certain masters of the XIX century, - printed not published MDCCCLXXXVI (1886), The Art Age Press, 400 N.Y. (written after the exhibition 'Cent Chefs-d'Oeuvres: the Choiche of the French Private Galleries', Petit, Paris / Baschet, New York, 1883, p. 50
  • In his landscapes the Spaniard [Diaz] betrays himself.. .Diaz has in him [the painter Theodore Rousseau ] a little of Fortuny. Beside the great genius wrestling for truth and the virile seriousness of Rousseau, beside the gloomy, powerful landscapes of Dupre, with their deep, impassioned poetry, the sparkling and flattering pictures of Diaz seem to be rather light wares. For him nature is a keyboard on which to play capricious fantasies. His pictures have the effect of sparkling diamonds, and one must surrender one's self to his charm without asking its cause; otherwise it evaporates. Diaz has, perhaps, too much of the talent of the juggler. It sparkles as in a magic kaleidoscope. 'You paint stinging-nettles, and I prefer roses', is the characteristic expression which he [Diaz] used to Millet.
    • Quote by Richard Muther; as cited in The Barbizon Painters – being the story of the Men of thirty, Arthur Hoeber – associate of the National Academy of Design; publishers, Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York 1915, p. 138
  • The pictures of Diaz are not landscapes, for the land is wanting; they are 'tree-scapes', and their poetry lies in the sunbeams which dance, playing around them. 'Have you seen my last [tree-] stem?' he would inquire of the visitors to his studio.
    • Quote by Arthur Hoeber in The Barbizon Painters – being the story of the Men of thirty – associate of the National Academy of Design; publishers, Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York 1915, p. 140
  • From Theodore Rousseau, Diaz learned much of the technique of his trade, much of the secret of light and shade, and of the art of composition. In the matter of the use of the pigment, too, Rousseau gave Diaz much information, for he had made a study of the chemical properties of colour, a thing that had never occurred to Diaz, impetuous, unbridled enthusiast that he was. I have said elsewhere that Diaz at Barbizon, with the serious Rousseau working near him, turned his attention to a more sober interpretation of landscape, wherein he gave greater thought to form, tone, and construction. He studied trees, rocks, and gave greater attention to the relation of skies, distances, and foreground.
    • Quote of Arthur Hoeber in The Barbizon Painters – being the story of the Men of thirty – associate of the National Academy of Design; publishers, Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York 1915, p. 148

External links[edit]

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