Paul Huet

1803 – 1869

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The romantic landscape painter Paul Huet entered the École des Beaux Arts in 1820, joining the studio of Baron Gros. He continued his training under Guérin, in whose studio he became acquainted with Eugène Delacroix who was to remain a close friend for many years. Paul Huet found his inspiration in the effects of nature. He delighted in depicting storms and a dramatic effects of natural light – landscapes above which race lowering clouds, driven by the wind, and woods with mysterious patches of twilight broken like a fleeting ray of sunshine. In short, his works are the very essence of heroic landscape.

Paul Huet may be considered to be the direct forerunner of the Barbizon School of artists, anticipating many aspects of their work. He developed a lyrical approach to his subjects, in a style similar to that of the Barbizon School artists. The landscapes which he chose to depict were those in the areas immediately surrounding Paris, similar to those of the Barbizon artists. More than this, Paul Huet was also a plein-air artist, whose treatment of light anticipated Impressionism in a similar manner. It seems more than coincidental that Paul Huet took his debut as an exhibitor in the Salon in the same year as Corot, 1827.

As a printmaker Paul Huet practised etching, mezzotint, lithography, and even experimented extensively with cliché-verre. He rarely exhibited his etchings and lithographs, although his few published sets rank amongst some of the finest of early nineteenth century French Romantic landscape prints. Paul Huet remains a quiet master of printmaking; his works are refined and atmospheric – today, as in his lifetime, they remain firmly in the domain of the true connoisseur.