(1847 - 1916)
Damoye is one of the principal artists associated with the 'school of Pontoise', the group of young landscapists who painted primarily along the riverbanks of the Seine and Oise Rivers, north of Paris, often establishing homes in Pontoise. Damoye became particularly noted for his vast skies and for his ability to give intriguing visual animation to broad, tree studded-plains and farmlands. Although Damoye was well aware of the example of Corot and Daubigny, he built his repertoire of compositions and favored sites quite independently of the two 'old masters' of river landscape; and from the soft gray and ochre notes of the humid skies to which he was so attracted, Damoye developed a very personalized color scheme.
Pierre-Emmanuel Damoye was born in Paris on February 20, 1847, and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Bonnat, one of the foremost figure painters and portraitists of the late nineteenth-century. Damoye, however, seems to have been committed to landscape art from the beginning of his career, and his earliest dated works from the late 1860s clearly reveal the influence of both Daubigny and Corot, from whom he acquired both a brighter range of colors and a looser, more 'impressionist' brush style than was sanctioned by the official Ecole studios. Damoye began to exhibit at the Salon of 1875 with a landscape titled L'hiver, and by 1879 he had won his first medal, a bronze or third class honor, beginning an unusually rapid rise for a landscape painter. In 1884 he received a second class medal, followed by a very prestigious gold medal at the grand, centennial Exposition Universelle of 1889. Despite such official recognition, however, Damoye was instrumental in forming the breakaway Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts, a rival exhibiting association, and he continued to be associated with the ‘Salon du Champ-de-Mars' until his death in 1924.
In addition to painting the river banks and upland plateaus of the Oise and Seine basins, Damoye also frequently worked in Picardy and throughout the great Loire valley, and made at least one trip to the Normandy coast. He was regularly recognized by liberal and conservative art critics alike as one of the most original of the heirs to the Barbizon tradition, and frequently was cited for his ability to maintain a sense of poetry and inspiration in his landscapes.