BARYE, Antoine-Louis
(b. 1796, Paris, d. 1875, Paris)

Forest of Fontainebleau: The "Jean de Paris"

Oil on canvas, 20 x 31 cm
Private collection

The Forest of Fontainebleau, some 35 miles southeast of Paris, was formerly a royal hunting ground of kings and emperors, but it became a magnet for artists and tourists in the 19th century. The forest was accessible, beautiful, and visually compelling, with a rare mix of traditional rural French villages and natural landscape features—magnificent old-growth trees, stark plateaus, dramatic rocks, and stone quarries. Best known for the informal artists’ colony centred in the village of Barbizon, Fontainebleau became a nearly obligatory pilgrimage site for French and foreign artists, serving as both subject and sanctuary, "natural studio" and open-air laboratory for investigating nature.

The "Jean de Paris" is an area in the Forest of Fontainebleau known for its stark plateaus and rough terrain.

The painting is signed lower left: BARYE.