The Painters' Village
The railroad first came to the small picturesque villages outside Paris in about 1850. The wealth of subjects-hills and cliffs, wheatfields and gardens, markets and country homes-in and around Auvers and nearby Pontoise attracted many artists, who could now easily travel to the various sites. Charles Daubigny, a Barbizon School artist and an early advocate of plein-air painting, settled in Auvers in 1861; his friends Corot and Daumier were regular visitors. Pissarro and Cézanne, both of whom painted frequently in Pontoise, also made forays into Auvers. Van Gogh wrote to Theo in his first letter after arriving in Auvers: "It is profoundly beautiful, it is the real country, characteristic and picturesque."