Henry Moret, who, like the Impressionists, studied the variations of light on water, found his favourite motifs, such as fishing boats in Audierne Bay, on the coast of southern Brittany.
Very early on, Henry Moret was drawn to southern Brittany’s coast and sought to capture all its nuances. He was close to Gauguin’s Pont-Aven group but stayed on the sidelines as an observer, intrigued by some of their ideas yet remaining true to his own style. His aesthetic inclinations were closer to Claude Monet’s. Moret was not interested in the picturesque but in capturing the ephemeral, light shimmering on water and the effects of changing weather and seasons on the same motif. He would set his easel up on a heath to paint a thatch-roof cottage half-hidden by a knoll. No wonder Audierne Bay with its long beaches of fine sand, dunes, points, wind-whipped whitecaps and ceaseless ebb and flow attracted him, especially between 1910 and 1911. Here, with broad strokes he painted a sandy path leading down to a small cove where boats with colourful sails have cast their fishing nets. Some rocks dotted with pink and bright green vegetation stick up out of the water. From the foreground the gaze moves up to the dunes obstructing the horizon, surmounted by a sky with clouds. Between the coasts, thinner brushstrokes depict the strong current sprinkled with white foam, the boats’ billowing sails and various shades of green streaked with blue. "It looks as though everything here was conceived to delight the senses and lead them to perceive the admirable fusion of the elements," Jean-Yves Rolland, who prepared the artist’s catalogue raisonné, wrote in the sale catalogue. In summer 2021 the Quimper Museum of Fine Arts will host a show of Moret’s works, a consecration for this bard of the Breton coast.