Henry Moret

(1856 - 1913)

Rentrée des Bateaux à Doëlan

Numbered, titled and inscribed, on the reverse: 'no.43, Rentrée des bateaux (Douelan), PH17309'
Oil on canvas
18⅛ x 24 in – 46 x 61 cm
Frame size
24 x 29¾ in – 61 x 75.6 cm

Tel.: +44 (0)20 7839 7693

Provenance

Private collection, France
Moret was born in Cherbourg where his father was an officer with the local garrison. The young Henry had a brief career in the army which included a posting to Brittany in 1875 which gave him further exposure to the dramatic Atlantic coast of Western France - a landscape which would inspire him throughout his lifetime. It was also during this military service that Moret's commanding officer, Jules La Villette introduced him to the artist, Ernest Corroller who taught him the fundamentals of landscape painting. The present work shows the fishing fleet of Doëlan returning to the picturesque port in the commune of Clohars-Carnoët, near the artists colony of Pont-Aven. In the majority of Moret's compositions the view is from land, looking down the coastline, whereas the perspective in the present work is from the sea, looking inland across the farmed headlands of Brittany, thus providing the viewer with the same vista as the fishermen themselves. The distinctive terracotta colour of the sails was due to the red ochre, cod oil and sea water which made up the waterproof dressing. Moret was a prolific artist who painted this rugged coastline throughout the year; as his contemporary Maxime Maufra observed, "...Coasts, forests, valleys, in every season he observed them with all his senses, reproducing them with all his spirit and sincerity."

Biography

Henry Moret was born in Cherbourg 12th December 1856. Although he and his family were from Normandy it was Brittany that held a life-long fascination for the artist.

Moret received a traditional academic training with Jean Paul Laurens (1838-1921) at the Academy Julian and making his debut at the Salon in 1880. However, Moret rejected the academic style for that of his modern contemporaries, the Impressionists, particularly Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903).

Moret was one of a number of young artists drawn to Pont Aven and Gauguin. Moret worked there and in the coastal villages and islands along the south coast of Brittany, painting in Douelan, Clohar and Belle Ile and on Graix and on the remote island of Ouessant on the western tip of Brittany. Moret sought out the local fisherman and farmers, painting the landscape and rocky coastline of this remote and desolate area. Moving from village to village Moret would often return to Pont Aven, in 1888 following Gauguin who was there with Claude Emil Schuffenecker (1851-1934) and Émile Bernard (1868-1941). Although Gauguin was a significant influence and friend it is the influence of Claude Monet that is prevalent in his marines and landscapes.

Moret infrequently travelled beyond the confines of Brittany, returning to Normandy and to Paris and visiting Holland.

Moret was widely collected, selling through the foremost Parisian dealer – Durand-Ruel – his works were sought after by collectors throughout Europe and in the United States and Great Britain.

His works can be found in museums in: Cardiff, Museums and Galleries of Wales; Southampton City Art Gallery; Paris, Musée d’Orsay; Quimper, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Reims; St. Petersburg, The Hermitage; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts; Indianapolis Museum of Art and Washington DC, National Gallery of Art.

Henry Moret