Eglise de Tregunc, Finistère

Henry Moret1899
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Oil on canvas
Signed and dated right: Henry Moret, 99

This delightful, light-filled pastoral scene dates from a crucial period in the career of Henry Moret. Having moved away from his academic training under the influence of Gauguin and others of the Pont-Aven school, Moret’s style began around the turn of the century to turn increasingly towards Impressionism. This is a fine example of the means by which he reconciled the guiding principles of the two schools.

That shift is apparent here in the flecked brushstrokes of which this painting is composed, creating a more nuanced effect through the interplay of colour and form than the flat planes and unmixed colour of his earlier work allowed. That shift corresponds to a more naturalistic approach to the representation of landscape, with lilacs, pinks, greens and blues taking the place of the burning reds and oranges of his previous style. This was the style that saw Moret gain international recognition, with Paul Durand-Ruel including his work (alongside that of Gustave Loiseau, among others) in two exhibitions in New York, in 1900 and 1902.

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