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Oil painting - Hauling the boat
  • Hauling the boat
    Bocion, François, born 1828 - died 1890
  • Enlarge image

Hauling the boat

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Lausanne (painted)

  • Date:

    1850-1855 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bocion, François, born 1828 - died 1890 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on millboard

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

François Bocion (1828-1890) was born in Lausanne. He first trained with Christian Gottlieb Steinlen (1779-1847) in Vevey and subsequently with François Bonnet (1811-1894) in Lausanne. In Paris in 1845, Bocion entered the atelier of Louis-Aimé Grosclaude (1784-1869) and later that of Charles Gleyre (1806-1874) and befriended Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) and other important exponents of the Realist movement. Back in Lausanne in 1849 he became a teacher at the Ecole moyenne et industrielle of Lausane, a position he held until his death. At the same time, he had an extensive output with several travels abroad. He exhibited in Paris, Vienna, Anvers, London and was a founder member of the Swiss society of watercolorists (1884).

This painting was executed shortly after Bocion's return to Lausanne and inaugurates one of the main thematic of the artist: lake views. Bocion focused here on the rendering of sunset light in a broad albeit restrained brushwork. The attention on atmospheric effect and the direct observation of nature were characteristic of the Realist movement emerged in France in the 1840s. This is a fine example of his art which mainly includes peaceful scenes dominated by imposing mountains in the distance.

Physical description

One man and two young boys are hauling a boat ashore; the boat has one raised sail; imposing mountains in the background.

Place of Origin

Lausanne (painted)


1850-1855 (painted)


Bocion, François, born 1828 - died 1890 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on millboard

Marks and inscriptions

'F. Bocion'
Signed by the artist, lower left


Height: 21 cm estimate, Width: 37.8 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, listed in the 1868 post-mortem register of the contents of his cilla in Lausanne (V&A R/F MA/1/T1181) as 'Oil on Millboard. Hauling the boat. By F. Bocion. Signed. Swiss. Present century'; bequeathed by Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend, 1868.

Historical significance: This painting is one of a group of 16 paintings bequeathed to the museum by the Rev. Townshend who had a villa in Lausanne where he spent the winter.
It is a fine example of the central thematic of lake views in Bocion's oeuvre. Executed shortly after his return to Lausanne from Paris, this painting witnesses the influence of the Realist painters such as Courbet and Leon Berthoud. The support suggests that the artist depicted outdoors directly after the motif but this does not exclude that he reworked the composition in his studio as it is known that Bocion used both practises.
This composition and broad brushwork is reminiscent of the Realist painters Bocion was in contact with while residing in Paris but also displays a very personal style he would gradually improve throughout his career.
Similar compositions include: Lake of Geneva, sailing boats, dated 1855, A Barge, and Sailing Boats c.1855, all three in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (see 1563-1869, 1587-1869 and 1588-1869). The focus on a group of figure at close range is a recurrent compositional formula in Bocion's oeuvre throughout the 1850s.
This painting was bought by the Rev. Townshend who had the habit to spend his winters in his villa in Lausanne. It completed there a large collection of 19th-century landscapes paintings and it is not unlikely that he knew personally the artist.

Descriptive line

Oil Painting, 'Hauling the Boat', François Bocion, mid 19th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, II. 1800-1900, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 11, cat. no. 30.
Reymondin, M., Catalogue Raisonné de François Bocion, Immerc: Wormer, 1989, no. 30, p. 21.


Oil paint; Millboard


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Boats; Mountains; Boys; Lake; Men


Paintings; Maritime


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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