Professor Frances Fowle was the project leader for a recent exhibition on the French 19th-century artist Charles-François Daubigny. As a specialist in French Impressionism, Frances is particularly interested in figures that lie on the periphery of the movement, the ‘unsung heroes’ of their day. Daubigny is one such figure: a world-leading artist, commercially successful in his time, who has since been overlooked.

The aim of the project was to reassess the artist’s influence on later artists of the avant-garde, such as Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh and, in the ensuing exhibition – ‘Inspiring Impressionism: Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh’ – to show the three artists’ works side by side, in order to highlight some astonishing parallels in subject and technique. 

Frances worked in collaboration with a team of international scholars from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, the Taft Museum, Cincinnati, and the National Galleries of Scotland. The team’s findings showed that Daubigny anticipated mainstream impressionism, not only through his own pioneering practises, such as painting sketchily out of doors, adopting unexpected viewpoints and working midstream from a studio boat - but also through the social and artistic networks in which he operated. As well as supporting the young Impressionists when they first exhibited at the annual Salon in Paris, he introduced Monet and Camille Pissarro to the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, without whose support the Impressionist movement might not have been so well known today. The exhibition was very well received and as a result Daubigny’s work was introduced to the wider public in Scotland, the Netherlands and the USA.

Since 2005 Professor Fowle has been on secondment at the National Galleries of Scotland, where she has curated a whole series of international exhibitions on European and American art of the late 19th century.

Professor Frances Fowle

Personal Chair of Nineteenth-Century Art, History of Art

Senior Curator (French Art), National Galleries of Scotland


Tel: +44 (0) 131 650 2308