Guided by a young village boy, the hikers are resting on the edge of a cliff clearly in awe of the spectacular views over the valley below.
Possibly, Goupil & cie, Paris, December 1868 (no. 3795 as Les Jeunes touristes)
Possibly, Knoedler & co, New York, February 1869 (acquired from the above)
Best known today as the backdrop of the historic 1969 James Bond movie On her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Swiss village of Mürren is one of the most picturesque and impressive Alpine landmarks. In the 19th century, it was this same dramatic terrain - the abrupt ravines, the giant peaks carved out of rock and the verdant meadows – that attracted a multitude of tourists.
Adventurous artists also flocked to the popular holiday retreat seeking to capture the serene and breathtaking views. The most notable among them was John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), who sketched a view of the Jungfrau summit from Mürren in 1870 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Executed in 1868, our painting is the quintessence of Charles Boutibonne’s own representation of the iconic massif. It depicts the surroundings of Mürren as three female hikers equipped with hiking sticks, binoculars and umbrellas, ascend the mountain on a summer day. Guided by a young village boy, the hikers are resting on the edge of a cliff clearly in awe of the spectacular views over the valley below. The silk dresses and bright feathery lappets of their hats flowing in the wind are especially ravishing. Boutibonne masterly takes the viewer back to the 19th century, and into the life of city dwellers as they indulged in the joys of being on holiday.