Jul 9, 2007

Boats at Berck-sur-Mer

Boats at Berck-sur-Mer


Edouard Manet

(French, 1832–1883)

Oil on fabric

Framed: 52.5 x 74 x 7 cm (20 11/16 x 29 1/8 x 2 3/4 in.); Unframed: 34 x 55.8 cm (13 3/8 x 21 15/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1940.534



Ever since his childhood, Manet spent almost every summer at the seashore. At age 16, after failing the entrance exam for the naval academy, he embarked as an apprentice on a training ship, traveling as far away as Rio de Janeiro. The sea would always capture his imagination, and in 1864 he painted several seascapes. This painting was made nearly ten years later, while the artist was staying in Berck-sur-Mer, near Boulogne. Exploring light and movement, he rapidly sketched the sails of the countless ships that dance in the wind on blue-green waves highlighted with white. Manet even added a slight curve to the horizon, thus conveying an impression of infinite space, despite the painting's small size.

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