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Home > News > A remarkable technique invented in 1923 by Victor Charreton

Victor Charreton was born in 1864 in Isère. After studying law in Grenoble, he decided in 1902 to devote himself to his passion, painting. He moved to Paris and until 1913 he undertook numerous trips to capture the light of very different landscapes, from Algeria to Holland, through Spain, England and Belgium.

Charreton is a self-taught and modernist painter. His art is unique, unclassifiable. He will develop his own techniques and his own supports. In his landscapes, colour dominates the drawing which is quickly sketched in pencil on the bare canvas. He paints on the motif, without preparation, and practices painting "in reserves", which reveals the support of which he uses the colour. The material, most often oil paint, is applied directly with a knife or a brush, and the chromatic juxtapositions he makes are frank and audacious.

The power of Charreton's works is comparable to the Fauvist works created by Matisse or Derain when Victor Charreton settled in Paris. Auvergne, Brittany and Provence are the subjects that will remain dear to him throughout his life.

Our painting represents a sunny landscape of the Creuse after the first snowfalls. Charreton's snow subjects are those which have reached the highest prices. Born in the Alps, and in love with the Massif Central, Charreton excels in this representation. It is moreover a painting entitled La Neige which is kept by the Musée d'Orsay. As is often the case, Charreton left certain parts of the sky "in reserve", i.e. unpainted; he uses the colour of the support itself as a background and uses it to give more volume to the painted parts which, in contrast, are treated with a very thick, almost sculpted material. The support is the finette that Charreton developed in order to make the colour as pure as possible. On this subject, Robert Chatin writes:

LA FINETTE: in 1923 Charreton discovers the finette. It is a cotton fabric whose reverse side is made fluffy by a scraping process. It is the fluffy side that serves as a support for the pigments... Always in search of a better finish, Charreton constantly researched and experimented with processes that could reduce the disadvantages of oils...". It is better not to mix anything with the colour: oil is too much". The fine support meets this concern. Having noticed the absorption of the oil by the finette weave, Charreton immediately imagines the advantage to be gained from this "blotting effect": the pigments freed from their carrier will be in a pure state and the quality of their tones will not suffer from the alteration of the oils that carry them.

Seventy years later, the validity of Charreton's hypothesis has been demonstrated: the pigments have retained the intensity and native freshness of their tones.


Works by Victor Charreton exhibited :

Paris, Musée d'Orsay and Petit Palais

New York






Robert Chatin "Victor Charreton - Life and Work ",

Edition de l'Amateur, Paris.