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By Fontayne, René (French, 1891-1952)
This expressive Impressionist oil painting, which portrays a warm and pleasant harbourside scene, is an example of the very best of French modernist art.
This superb oil painting is by René Fontayne, a celebrated French painter, illustrator, and decorative artist active during the early twentieth century. Fontayne studied during the interwar period and became established as an artist by the start of the 1920s. In 1928, the French government acquired a landscape painted by Fontayne: a significant achievement. Fontayne is celebrated not only for his paintings on canvas, but also for his decorative compositions: the artist painted and designed the interiors of important buildings, such as the town hall of Vincennes, and designed sets and costumes for theatrical productions in Paris.
The present painting depicts a harbourside scene: several boats float by the shorefront, with buildings and trees lined up behind. While the work recalls Impressionism—the way light and colour has been caught in the ripples of the waves, for instance—the painting is hints at more modern art: the blocky, monochrome forms of the buildings are reminiscent of Cézanne, while the angularity of the sails prefigures abstract art.
Fontayne’s painterly manner is expressive, with broad swathes of colour employed to render shapes and forms and define moments of light and shade. The palette is bright and vibrant, hinting at the warmth of the seaside summer day.
The painting, on canvas, is held within a carved giltwood frame and is signed lower left ‘René Fontayne’.
Frame: Height 68.5cm, width 66cm, depth 6cm
Canvas: Height 50cm, width 48cm
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