View of a Valley in Normandy
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Paul Huet
French, about 1825 - 1830
9 1/2 x 12 7/8 in.

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Sunlight breaks through rolling clouds and illuminates a lush valley. The expansive sky fills much of the composition, but the long horizontal bands of rich green and blue pigment that compose the valley draw our eye downward. This open vista is seen from an elevated vantage point--a curving road in the foreground. The modest, down-to-earth scene encourages us to imagine the artist himself, on-the-spot and out in nature, striving to capture this particular view at a particular time of day.

Paul Huet traveled often to the French countryside to observe and draw its specific features and weather conditions. He was a frequent visitor to Normandy, in northern France, where he painted and sketched its cliffs and hills, rivers and beaches. This watercolor is one of many works he produced during these visits. Like other French artists of his generation, Huet was inspired to take up the medium after seeing watercolors by his English contemporaries.