Painter of Savoie


Prosper Dunant was born in 1790 to a wealthy Savoyard landowning family in the hamlet of Lathuille, near the city of Annecy. He studied architecture and painting before devoting much of his adult life to provincial landscape painting "d'après nature".

He received a first introduction to painting beginning in 1805, under the able guidance of Pierre-Emmanuel Moreau of the Annecy School of Arts. But it is during his later Parisian studies (1812-1816) that he further developped and refined his techniques at the École des Beaux-Arts.

Upon his return to Savoie, he crisscrossed the region and made a huge number of drawings that he was to rework later on as engravings, lithographs and paintings. While devoting himself to landscape painting and drawing, he realised numerous architectural and design projects for his father's firm. True to the thinkers and writers of his time, he practised "walks destined to contemplation and study of nature" and in his work exalted the picturesque and anecdotal elements of a realistic landscape, as can be seen most notably in his sketches of peasants "in the style of Töpffer". It seems that he knew the famed Swiss artist and accompanied him on his walks in the Annecy area between l820 and 1822.

His work is composed of numerous drawings and paintings from which he later made engravings which were quite successful in his lifetime. The art afficionado will note that while the drawings are elegant and graceful, the engravings are often lacking in these qualities, undoubtedly due to the difficulty of working in the medium. The paintings, from watercolors to tempera to oils, show an evolution of style as painterly qualities progressively dominate, with the mastery of color replacing the linear representation so characteristic of his early works. His style progresses from classically-inspired landscapes to romantic and eventually to pre-impressionism; his "effects of light and clouds on Lake Annecy" is reminiscent of Turner's work, though it cannot be established whether Dunant was familiar with the English master's work. He did, however, frequent painters connected with the Barbizon school and this may explain in large part the evolution of his style.

The photo at right shows Alain Bexon explaining Dunant works to visitors during the Dunant Exposition at the Chambéry Art Museum in 1997.

The six paintings shown below by the diversity of their styles clearly illustrate the evolution of Dunant's work which spans mush of the Nineteenth Century.


Thatched cottage in Verthier
(watercolor & tempera)

Waterfall in Vésonne
(oil on hardboard)

Lake Annecy seen from Veyrier
(oil on hardboard)

Cloud effects on Lake Annecy as seen from Roc de Chère (oil on hardboard)

Mt Vanoise as seen from Brides-les-Bains
(oil on hardboard)

Tour de Grésy, near Lake Bourget



as painted and drawn by

Editions Itinera Alpina

For the first time ever, an art book presents the works of Prosper Dunant, painter and architect from the Savoie city of Annecy. "Discoverer" of the remarkable sites around Lakes Annecy and Bourget, he presents his views in a style which is uniquely his own, somewhere between classicism, romanticism and pre-impressionism! This work is a revelation for art historians, for all those who love Savoie and its landscapes, and of course for all amateur painters. Over one hundred color illustrations are complemented by a biography and the artist's own journal entries. (Text in French; brief biography in French and English).


Format à l'italienne (22,5 x 26,5 cm, approx. 8.8"x10.4"), 104 pages - Printed on 170 g glossy paper
More than 100 reproductions , half being full-page
Printing: 2000 copies
Brief biography in French and English

Price: 345 French Francs ($60 US)
Postage (Europe) : 30 Francs (for other destinations please contact Alain Bexon)
Send order to :
Editions Itinera Alpina, Alain Bexon
4, rue Notre Dame - 74000 ANNECY (FRANCE)

Please include your name, address, and the number of copies you wish to purchase.
Information : (tel & fax)
From the US dial 011 33 450 45 00 63

latest update February 23, 2001