Charles-François Daubigny was born in Paris, into a family of painters and was taught the art by his father Edmond François Daubigny and his uncle, miniaturist Pierre Daubigny. Initially Daubigny painted in a traditional style, but this changed after 1843 when he settled in Barbizon to work outside in nature. Even more important was his meeting with Camille Corot in 1852 in Optevoz (Isère). On his famous boat Botin, which he had turned into a studio, he painted along the Seine and Oise, often in the region around Auvers. From 1852 onward he came under the influence of Gustave Courbet. In London he met Claude Monet, and together they left for the Netherlands. Back in Auvers, he met Paul Cézanne, another important Impressionist. It is assumed that these younger painters were influenced by Daubigny.
Daubigny’s finest pictures were painted between 1864 and 1874, and these for the most part consist of carefully completed landscapes with trees, river and a few ducks. It has been said that when Daubigny liked his pictures he added another duck or two, so that the number of ducks often indicates greater or less artistic quality in his pictures. He was named by the French government as an Officer of the Legion of Honor. Daubigny died in Paris in 1878.