Les Sources de l’Albarine (Ain)
As a true successor of the Barbizon ideal, Appian adopted the use of natural light to mark his etchings – an element that prevailed in the works of his masters. Grounded etching plates could be carried to a site and summarily sketched in situ. Accordingly, Appian often worked in plein air. He was invested in depicting intimate traits, and he intentionally kept away from idealized forms. Appian favoured views of still waters, evidenced by the stream that occupies a focal point in Les Sources de l'Albarine (Ain). The calm state of the water is rendered evident by its reflective nature. This refined detail is a testament to Appian’s skill; he clearly knew how to manipulate the etching plate to capture the desired atmospheric qualities of distinct sites. He was fond of nature all through his life, and he captured remote locations of France in many of his works. Les Sources de l'Albarine (Ain) defines etching as a freely expressive process, which treatises in the 1860s aimed to promulgate.