Binet exhibited in France and London and was known as an established landscape painter of the time. Binet was exposed to the leading avant garde artists of his time and was greatly influenced by and worked with Constant Troyon, who along with Jules Dupre and Narcisse Diaz, formed the nucleus of the Barbizon School. The Barbizon School artists roamed the French countryside and the Fontainbleau Forest in search of untrammeled rural environments for their subject matter. Their work was marked by herds of cows, sheep at their watering places and peasants tending to animals and farming. Stylistically, their brushwork used a heavy impasto and a palette that was centered on the natural dark greens of the forest, the earth colors of the soil and the kaleidoscopic colors of the sky. From the middle of the 1800s, Normandy, Brittany, Barbizon and Fontainebleau served as destinations for artists who were attempting to break away from the academic tradition of painting, which limited the artist to portraiture, historical and religious subject matter. They sought to leave the ateliers and work out-of-doors, en plein air. These areas, not so far from Paris, provided the beautiful country landscape of luscious, romantic forests and the hills and valleys that lead to the rugged coastline. The construction of railroads during the second half of the century facilitated movement away from the cities. Here, artists discovered the common man and nature, as it really existed, not as an idealization.
Royal Academy, 1886
Salon of Paris, 1870, 1878 onwards
Universelle Exposition, 1889 (medal)
Legion d'Honneur, 1900 (officer)
Museums and Public Collections
Museum of Art, Amiens
Museum of Art, Grenoble
Museum of Art, Lyons
Museum of Art, Mulhouse
Museum of Art, Reims
Museum of Art, Rouen
Victor Binet, born in Rouen, a port city on the Seine River in the Normandy region of France approximately 140 kilometers northwest of Paris, most likely painted in situ our Village de la Seine, Village Duclair, a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France not far from the artist's birthplace. Just eleven miles west of the center of Rouen where the Austreberthe River meets the Seine, this farming community provided an ideal setting for Binet. The area represented in this painting looks out upon the estuary over the valleys and hills of the rich, fertile flood plain bordering the river. Binet remained in the Normandy region but traveled a great deal in search of subject matter for his work. The environment of Saint-Auben-sur Quilleboeuf and Arcueil provided Binet with beautiful scenery for the majority of his compositions.
Binet worked in the Barbizon manner, frequently painting clear blue skies and animals grazing, yet there is something cool and soothing about viewing this panoramic landscape. The figure in the foreground of a Breton peasant woman gathering wildflowers with the fields of crops beyond and the distant horizon of a steamship and a sailboat heading out of the mouth of the Seine in Le Havre combines our modern, industrial world with nature. The picture gracefully represents man living off the fruits of mother earth with a suggestion of change to come in the far distance.
Private Collection, Stamford, Connecticut