Henry Moret

French, 1856-1913 Biography

Originally from Normandy, Moret lived and worked almost his entire life in Brittany, and lives in the history of Impressionism as the interpreter of the Brittany landscape, which he delicately expressed. He studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at a young age under the tutelage of Jean Leon Gerome and Jean Paul Laurens. His first success was at the Salon of 1880. Thereafter, he turned from the academic formula towards a freer approach “en plein nature”.

In 1888, he was amongst the group of young artists united around Gauguin, with whom he formed a friendship, in Pont Aven. Traveling along the Brittany coast, he painted local landscapes and coastal scenes, the Breton countryside and fisherfolk, and the picturesque universe of places like Ouessant, Belle Ile, and Groix.

From 1888 to 1892, he turned to Synthesism, establishing his own stylistic blend of Impressionism in the manner of Guillaumin and the style of the Pont-Aven school. He signed an agreement with distinguished art dealer Durand-Ruel, which freed him from financial worries.

In the years between 1895 and 1896, the work of Moret began to develop rapidly. Within the Impressionistic style, his canvases transposed the new theories of Synthesism into contrasts of warm and cold colors. The principles of composition and design were carried to the extreme in these canvases.

After moving to Douellan in 1896, he concentrated on marine landscapes, translating the various moods of the ocean waters, limpid or furious, by dusk graced by a passing red sail, always in a manner free and smooth in which one detects the influence of Monet.

History sites him in his just place as a disciple of talent in the footsteps of the master Monet, with whom he shared both sensibilities and many of the same subjects such as Belle-Ile en Mer.

After his death in 1913, Durand-Ruel wrote “…he occupies a unique place in the evolution of art at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, as he has been able to fuse together two fundamentally opposing styles: the Synthesism of Pont-Aven and Impressionism.”

Oil on canvas
20 x 24 inches
30 ½ x 34 ½ inches framed
Signed and dated lower right: Henry Moret 1906

Provenance:
Walker Kimball and Company, Boston, MA, c. 1908
Mr. & Mrs. George W. Mehaffey, Boston, MA, c. 1908
Mr. & Mrs. Graham Tyler by descent 1934
Mr. & Mrs. Harry Cattrell by descent, 1981