Adolphe Félix CALS (1810 – 1880)

A work by Adolphe Felix Cals representing a village street, dated 1857. A spontaneous and free painting, of pre impressionist invoice.

Oil on paper mounted on cardboard
Signed and dated 57 lower right
Dimensions : 13,5 x 18,5
With frame: 24 x 29 cm
Price: sold

Adolphe-Felix Cals, precursor of Impressionism

Adolphe-Felix Cals follows in the footsteps of Boudin, Daubigny and Jongkind. He was a precursor of the Impressionists and exhibited with them from their first exhibitions from 1874 to 1879. It constitutes the essential step in the filiation which goes from Corot to impressionism.

A subject painted on the motif, a melted touch and refined colors

For his own pleasure, Cals painted landscapes during his walks around Paris or on the Montmartre hill. A spontaneity and freedom of expression characterizes his work.
The touch of Adolphe, Felix Cals is both delicate and light, his palette of ochre and orange colors on which the green of the trees and the gateway stand out.

The most sincere and natural of all our artists ” Ed About


Coming from a modest background, Adolphe-Félix Cals, a humble and self-effacing man, found serenity in painting.
He is one of the painters who freed the landscape from academic constraints.

His parents put him in training with the engraver Jean-Louis Anselin. He turned to painting and passed through the studio of Leon Cogniet in 1828. The latter, a neo-classical painter, had little appreciation for those who would come to be known as Impressionists, and Cals left the studio rather quickly. From 1835, he regularly exhibited portraits and landscapes at the Salon. Before 1841, he married Ermance Canelle de Provisy, whom he had met in the studio of Léon Cogniet, of whom he made several portraits.

In 1860, Pierre-Firmin Martin, known as “le père Martin”, the art dealer on the rue Laffitte, appreciated Cals’ painting. Cals also painted portraits of Martin and his wife. Then begins another period of his career. He made him sell some paintings and introduced him to Count Doria, who became his patron and invited him to his castle in Orrouy. From 1869 to 1870, he painted landscapes of the Valois, interiors, women’s studies, and portraits acquired by friends of the Count.
It is to Cals that Johan Barthold Jongkind’s friends entrusted the money they had collected to bring this Dutch painter to Paris, when he was penniless and plunged into deep alcoholism.

In 1863, he exhibited at the Salon des refusés alongside Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro. Influenced by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and Jongkind, he worked in shades of gray, less fauvist, closer to the Impressionists without, however, adopting their technique. Divided between Paris and Honfleur since 1871, he finally decided to settle in 1873 in this Norman port where many painters stayed. Friend of Jongkind, he frequents the resident painters of the Saint-Siméon farm and even paints the farm on the spot.

Cals lived in Honfleur with his daughter Marie for the last ten years of his life. He painted the harbor, the sea and the trades of the sea; a serious, strong and very human painting. The soul of the models shines through in his portraits of extreme sensitivity. (the School of Honfleur).


. Arsène Alexandre- A- F. CALS or the happiness of painting- Georges Petit imprimeur

. G Schurr ” The little masters of painting “.

L Harembourg ” French landscape artists in the 19th century



. Orsay Museum

. Louvre Museum


. Agen, Dijon, Honfleur, Reims, Le Havre, Lyon, Toulouse, Tours.