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Paul Huet: 'Trees in the Park at Saint-Cloud'

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This oil sketch on canvas is an early work by Paul Huet, one of the leading landscape painters of 19th-century France. Whilst studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he often visited the former royal park at Saint-Cloud, just outside Paris, to make sketches of magnificent groups of trees.

This is a lively example of his work from that period, and the first of his paintings to enter the collection. The rapid brush strokes, painted in vivid shades of green, anticipate the style of the Impressionists. Unfinished, the painting stops abruptly on the right side, emphasising its boldness and vitality.

Huet was a great admirer of Constable and he played a central role in the French appreciation of British landscape painting. He was a friend and early scholar of Delacroix, and is thought to have painted the landscape background of his portrait of Louis-Auguste Schwiter.

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