Etretat, on the Normandy coast, was a favourite summer haunt of many of the Impressionist painters, especially Monet.

This painting is likely to date from the early 1900s when Matisse made several visits to Brittany and Normandy and was much influenced by the Impressionists, probably as a result of the display of the Caillebotte bequest of Impressionist paintings at the Musee de Luxembourg in February 1897. This painting cannot be described as typical. It is an early work, if you take into consideration the great length of Matisse's painting career, which lasted from the middle of the 1890s to his death in 1954. He was a painter who developed new ideas right up to the end, but in his early career he was slow to find a personal style.


A.J.Hugh Smith

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