Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Louis Auguste Lepere - French 1849-1918

Falaises au bord de la mer
(Cliffs by the Sea)
102 x 76 cm

This work looks as though it may have faded substantially, but the calm neutral tones produce a kind of timeless monumentality, and the sculptural arrangement of cliffs enclosing a small area of seawater is fascinating. Massing - the design of abstract shapes of light and shadow - is what characterises the great paintings of the old masters, not just deft brushwork or high quality hand-ground oils (indeed, this painting may have deteriorated due to having been painted with unstable pigments).
Seascape painting, like the still life genre, has been diminished in the public imagination because of an excess of cliched compositions. It's refreshing to see seascape painters who have looked beyond the obvious views of sand and waves for something that has interesting abstract design qualities. This is not to say that there are not original compositions of sand and waves to be found.

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