Who was L. Ottin?
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France renders on her website data.bnf.fr 18 drawings which are attributed to Auguste Louis Marie Ottin (1811-1890). These drawings are also watercolours. Most of them are from the former collections of Jules-Adolphe Chauvet (1828-98) and Auguste Lesouëf (1829-1906) (iR26). On her site gallica.bnf.fr she renders pictures of these works. Most of these watercolours are signed by ‘L. Ottin’. These are two great websites with ancient documents and a lot of other data. I thankfully use them for my website. But I think in this case the Bibliothèque Nationale de France is wrong. I think the most of these watercolours are made by his son Léon-Auguste Ottin (1836-1918). 6 of the 18 watercolours depict Montmartre. At the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 Léon Ottin showed a work called ‘La Butte Montmartre, versant sud’ (cat. no. 131). At the 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition of 1876 he shows at least 14 works depicting ‘Butte Montmartre’. The catalogue does not indicate what technique Léon Ottin used. Mostly this means it were oil paintings. At the Salon of 1875 Léon Ottin exhibited ‘La butte Montmartre, le matin Peinture‘ (no. 1570). At the Salon of 1881 he showed 7 watercolours (of Normandy). At the Salon of 1884 he showed 4 watercolours, in 1886 also 4, in 1887 and 1888 one, in 1890 two. Some of them depicted scenes of Paris, 3 of them of the Pont Neuf. Here below we will find a watercolour depicting the Pont Neuf (not in the BNF) which is signed L. Ottin. At the auction of 1891 of ‘L. Ottin’ we find many paintings and watercolours depicting city-views from Paris. Two works explicitly refer to works Léon August Ottin exhibited at the Salon, other works have similarities in the title with works exhibited at the Salon and the ‘impressionist’ expositions of 1874 + 1876. (aR15)
It’s more logical to expect that ‘L. Ottin’ refers to Léon Ottin. And it is Léon Ottin who exhibited many watercolours and exhibited many works depicting Paris and especially Montmartre. This makes me think that most of the watercolours rendered by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France were not made by Auguste-Louis-Marie, but by Léon-Auguste Ottin.
Auguste Ottin never exhibited watercolours at the Salon nor at the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition of 1874. He is most known for his sculptures. Still some of the watercolours the Bibliothèque Nationale de France render are dated very early (1831 onwards), so they can’t be made by Léon who was born in 1836. So I assume the earlier watercolours were made by Auguste-Louis-Marie Ottin. Though he is mostly called Auguste Ottin, sometimes he is called Louis-Marie Ottin, what would explain the ‘L’.
Here below we will look closer to the individual works. I will render the original pictures that are on the gallica.bnf.fr site, with their subscriptions. Then I will render a reworked picture with a renamed subscription. And then details of subscriptions and the signature. I will try to combine the pictures with works Léon Ottin exhibited at the ‘impressionist’ expositions in 1874 + 1876 and at the Salon. Other sources I used for the pictures are: commons.wikimedia.org (iR6), images.google.com (iR10), eclecticlight.co (iR35), alamy.com (iR40), pinterest.com (iR64), europeana.eu (iR120), wikiphidias.fr (iR125).
The early watercolours made by Auguste Ottin:
Several earlier watercolours were from the Collection of Hippolyte Destailleur (1822-93) (iR26).
The earliest work from 1831 is probably signed as ‘L. Ottin’, but the signature is not quite clear. The subscription renders ‘Ottin f+’. It is a drawing made with charcoal. Grevolles lies now in the arrondissement ‘Montbard’ in the French department ‘Côte d’or’ (iR9). The arrondissement was called around 1831 ‘Châtillon-sur-Seine’, after a town more south of Grevolles. The church probably is the ‘Saint Pierre Es Liens’.
From 1837 – 1840 Auguste Ottin was in Rome. There he made this watercolour, one that is not in the BNF and is part of the collection of the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco. The subscription is quite unclear. What I can discern is ‘Roma 1837 … l’ami Louis Marie Ottin’. This is curious because in the Salon database he is mostly rendered as A. Ottin, Auguste Ottin and Auguste Louis Marie Ottin, a single time just as ‘Ottin’. So you assume in the signature ‘A. Ottin’. Only in 1853 he is rendered as Louis Marie Auguste Ottin. (iR1). So this can explain why Auguste Ottin also signed as ‘L. Ottin’.
Criqueboeuf is part of the French departement Calvados and lies south of Le Havre (iR9). The French departement Seine-Maritiem (in 1839 called Seine Inférieure; iR4) lies just north of the departement Calvados. So it is unclear why in the superscript the notification ‘Seine Inférieure’ is rendered. The church rendered is ‘Saint-Martin’.
Vendôme lies in the French departement Loir et Cher (iR3), about 170km south-west of Paris (iR9).
There also is an ink drawing attributed to Auguste-Louis-Marie Ottin. The only source is commons.wikimedia (=iR6). It was part of the collection of the Maritime Museum of Marseille. There is no signature in the drawing. The text in the drawing is vague.
Watercolours made by Léon Ottin:
I assume that the later watercolours signed by ‘L. Ottin’ were made by Léon-Auguste Ottin. This contradicts the assumption of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France that these works were made by his father Auguste-Louis-Marie Ottin. Again first I will render the original pictures and title of the BNF (iR40), than my reworked version, with a reworked title and than a detailed picture of the signature / subscription.
The first one was made in 1856 when Léon Ottin was about 20 years old. There is a similarity with a studie he later exhibited at the Salon des Refuses in 1863: ‘SdR1863-434 Une église de campagne ; étude’. Jouy-le-Comte, lies 14km north of Pontoise. The church probably is l’église Saint-Denis de Jouy-le-Comte (iR9). Compare also: 1874-129, Après la messe à la campagne. Around 1854-56 Léon Auguste Ottin also made watercolours that were part of a booklet, see below. This defends my choice to attribute this watercolour from 1856 to Léon instead of his father Auguste Ottin. On the other hand this work also was in the collection of Hippolyte Destailleur (1822-93), who also owned several works of Auguste Ottin, see above.
Early watercolours made by Léon Auguste Ottin at Joconde:
Joconde renders 3 watercolours made by Léon Auguste Ottin (iR23). They are part of a little book called ‘Cuisin Charles’ and published 1854/05/15. Curiously one work of Ottin is dated 1855 and the other 1856. The signatures have many similarities with the watercolours from the BNF (iR40). Joconde mentions Léon Auguste Ottin as the author of the booklet. The booklet also contains songs partly written by Gérard de Nerval. It is unclear if other songs are traditional or made by Léon August Ottin.
Watercolours made of Montmartre by Léon Ottin:
Léon Ottin made many watercolours of Montmartre and he exhibited many works made in Montmartre. I will try to make connections between these works. Many works are hard to locate, others are more precise. Montmartre is a district in Paris, that is part of the 18th arrondissement called Clignancourt. The district north-east of Montmartre is called ‘Grandes-Carrières‘. Léon-Auguste Ottin lived in the 18th arrondissement from 1865-1876. After 1876 he would not exhibit works depicting this area. Still most of his watercolours are made in 1882 + 1883. Still the exact date indicates they are original works.
For these works I could not make a connection:
S1875-1570 La butte Montmartre, le matin (Peinture)
1876-183 La maison bleue (butte Montmartre)
1876-184 Mont Cassin, versant sud (Butte Montmartre)
1876-185 En plein soleil, versant sud (Butte Montmartre)
1876-186 Sur le versant nord (Butte Montmartre)
1876-188 La maison Lorcinier (Butte Montmartre) ; appartient à M.L…
1876-190 Retraite de Russie, versant ouest (Butte Montmartre)
1876-191 La maison rouge, l’Abreuvoir (Butte Montmartre)
1876-193 La tour Solferino (Butte Montmartre)
1876-194 Au cimetière (Butte Montmartre)
Watercolours of Montmartre – Grandes-Carrières:
Léon Ottin made 2 watercolours of which he wrote (or later was written) in the top right ‘Montmartre –
Clignancourt‘ and Clignancourt is replaced for ‘Grandes-Carrières’. So maybe these works were made at the edge of these two districts. Both look out at two mils. The first one looks out on Moulin du Radet at the corner of Rue Lepic and Rue Girardon (iR9;iR26). It is part of a bistro called ‘Moulin de la Galette’. The real Moulin de la Galette lies a bit further along the Rue Lepic and is seen in the distance. Note father Auguste Ottin lived at 46, Rue Lépic from 1882-86.
1876-195-7 Entre les rues des Carrières et Marcadet.
1876-192 Petit rue Saint-Denis (Butte Montmartre)
1876-195-3 Rue du Mont-Cenis
1876-196-3 De la rue Ordener.