Constant Troyon began his career as a porcelain painter. By the late 1830’s he turned his attention to landscape painting, and his first Salon entries were views of Saint-Cloud and Sèvres, near the state porcelain works. These early paintings were characterized by bright colors based on his experience working with porcelain glazes. In 1843, Troyon became friends with Théodore Rousseau and Jules Dupré, and began to frequent Fontainebleau, which would provide him with a new subject for his paintings. In 1846, he was awarded a first-class medal at the Salon.
The turning point in Troyon’s career was in 1847 when he visited the Lowlands. Here he fell under the influence of the two great 17th century Dutch animal painters—Albert Cuyp and Paulus Potter. When he returned to France, he concentrated on animal painting, and the Salon of 1849 saw his first entry devoted to an animal subject. From this point on he was a great success, both critically and financially, and his influence was felt in France, the Lowlands, and Germany. Troyon became the first Barbizon artist to win overall acceptance. Exhibitions of his works were held in London, Manchester, Brussels, Vienna, Antwerp and The Hague. His paintings of animals, rooted in their natural surroundings, are characterized by a perfect balance of color, line and composition.
By the eighteen-fifties Troyon’s reputation was established. He exhibited abroad regularly, and was asked to be a member of the jury for the 1855 World Exhibition. Even his simplest sketches fetched high prices.
Whether painting a cow in a pasture or a pointer in a field, animal and nature co-exist in total harmony when they are recorded by Troyon’s brush. When Constant Troyon died in 1865, his reputation as one of the greatest animal painters of the 19th Century was firmly established.