Skip to content


In the forest of Fontainebleau, France

The first artists’ colony as an act of rebellion

It’s a privilege to learn a craft at the art academy, but it’s not always the only way. Barbizon was created as an act of rebellion against the rules of the academy. As the first artists’ colony developed in the forest of Fontainebleau (near Paris), artists flocked to the peaceful surroundings longing for a ‘good and simple’ life. No set academy boundaries, but working in the open air, sketching landscapes, woodlands, and scenes of village life.

This was the start of Impressionism. Apart from working outdoors, these Naturalist and Realist artists painted in their studios too. Later on, in around 1850, the idea of working in groups of artists and getting inspired by the simple outdoor life attracted artists from foreign countries too. These painters were particularly coming from the Anglo-Saxion countries, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. It was the beginning of a more communal way of living and working. A new movement of artists in communities, slowly spreading throughout Europe.

The main artists who lived and worked here:

Narcisse Diaz de la Peña (*1807 – 1876)
Constant Troyon (*1810 – 1865)
Jules Dupre (*1811 – 1889)
Théodore Rousseau (*1812 – 1867)
Charles Jacque (*1813 – 1894)
Jean-François Millet (*1814 – 1875)
Jules Veyrassat (*1828 – 1893)
Jean-Ferdinand Chaigneau (*1830 – 1906)

Mr. Gérard TAPONAT
13, Grande rue
F-77630 Barbizon
+33 (0)1 60 66 41 92
Musée départemental des peintres de Barbizon - Auberge Ganne
92, Grande Rue
77630 Barbizon
+33 (0)1 60 66 22 27
Musée départemental des peintres de Barbizon - Maison-atelier Théodore Rousseau (for temporary exhibitions only)
55, Grande Rue
77630 Barbizon
+33 (0)1 60 66 22 38
Maison atelier Jean François Millet
27, Grande Rue
77630 Barbizon
+33 (0)1 60 66 21 55