NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 26, 2013

Water, water everywhere

Exhibit ties impressionists to tradition of maritime painting

(Continued)

This type of painting was familiar to the impressionists and was commissioned by French kings to help plan their navies, Finamore said.

While such utilitarian works may seem remote from impressionism, the gallery provides a bridge toward the latter style in “The Boat Trip,” a series of etchings by Charles-Francois Daubigny from 1861.

Where traditional marine painters contrived their images in a studio, Daubigny captured scenes in a realistic style while working on a boat, traveling France’s inland waterways. In the process, Daubigny, who directly influenced Monet, helped inaugurate impressionism’s preference for capturing the play of light while working en plein air, or outdoors.

Monet’s painting of his own floating studio is included in the show, and an installation in one of the galleries re-creates an artist’s boat, where visitors can look over the stern at projected video of the Ipswich River.

In addition to 60 paintings in both oil and watercolor, the exhibit includes photographs, a large number of boat models and two full-sized boats.

The models allow visitors to see how impressionists transformed what they were painting, while stressing the fact that they had specific kinds of boats in mind. Most of the artists had firsthand experience of nautical life and would have appreciated the nature and function of each vessel they painted.

Most of the galleries reflect France’s marine geography, Finamore said, grouping paintings by subject matter such as ports and harbors, or rivers around Paris.

The full-sized boats in the show include a sleek rowboat called a gig, which was owned by French novelist Emile Zola. It appears in a gallery across from a painting by Auguste Renoir, “Oarsmen at Chatou,” which depicts a gig in action.

A figure on the riverbank in the foreground of this painting is believed to be Gustave Caillebotte, who helped Zola choose his gig and is in several ways the star of this show.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Special Features