Les Rochers Rouges

Henry Moret
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reference number: EP_054

circa 1910

oil on canvas

61 x 73 cm

signed lower left: Henry Moret

Henry Moret began his training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in the ateliers of masters Jean-Léon Gérome and Jean-Paul Laurens. In 1880, at the age of twenty-three, Moret made his debut at the Salon, earning the praise of his academic masters but already seeking a more expressive technique. Though he was well-received in the academic salons and exhibited widely, his artistic interests were more closely aligned with the avant-garde ideas of the Impressionist school.  He, therefore, sought to combine the two in terms of appreciation and application.


In 1886, drawn to the beauty and timelessness of Brittany, Moret moved to Pont-Aven, already home to fellow artists Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard, and Jacques Jourdan.  He was accepted immediately into their group and quickly became one of the most famous artists in Pont-Aven. His canvases gradually exhibited the new theories of the Synthetists with their flatter forms and bold colours.  With this type of work, Moret marked his full abandonment of the academic tradition for the modern. Though he did not exhibit with the Synthetists at the Cafe Volpini exhibition in Paris in 1889, he did join them when moving to Pouldu. Subsequently, he exhibited with them at the Salon des Indépendants, the Salon d’Automne and shows in Le Barc de Boutteville.


By 1895, Moret had signed an agreement with the Galerie Durand-Ruel, which freed him from financial worries while requiring him to paint the popular en plein-air landscapes typical of the Impressionists. This led to the gradual cessation of the Synthetist doctrine in his work. His subsequent canvases of Brittany were boldly coloured landscapes that uniquely fused elements of Symbolism with Impressionism, reflecting a more pronounced alliance with the latter due to his direct observation of nature and the free manner of his painting. Les Rochers Rouges, a Monet-inspired, poetic depiction of Breton coastline, is a fine example of the artist’s singular style. In this painting, Moret depicts rocky coastal outcrops, which are typical of the rugged Breton landscape, using deep, rich colours and vigorous brushstrokes.


After Moret’s death, the Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris and New York continued to exhibit his paintings, either in one-man shows or alongside canvases by Maxime Maufra, Gustave Loiseau, and Albert André.

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