As the water flows

Who better than painters to awaken in us storms, calm or voluptuousness, all these emotions that we feel in front of water

Water, this coloured surface in perpetual movement where skies, trees, bridges are reflected...
Cross the history of impressionism

The transience of time, light, colour.
Let's discover some of these characteristics through some of the works in the gallery that are inspired by them.

The reflection

With the Impressionists, the artist's real subject is less the landscape than the question of reflection.
It is in the experimentation with variations in reflection that the painting is at stake.

Oil on panel " The Water Bridge at Moret sur Loing by ZANAROFF
Size : 78 x 90 cm

Attaching to this random representation of the reflection
is for the impressionist painters
declare the truth of the moment
The bridge, situated between the water and the sky, is the ideal subject to paint the reflection.

Reason for choice:
it is a symbol of the transition between tradition and progress.
Already painted by Sisley and Monet.
Prudent Pohl, known as Zanarrof, a post impressionist painter,
makes the bridge the central subject of this work.

Thanks to the path taken by his strollers, the artist projects us into the painting, with a perfect mastery of perspective, and thus directs our gaze towards and under the bridge.

We are thus attracted by the dazzling reflection, which is distinguished by a soft, lacquered touch, when the earthly elements are painted more vividly.
The reflection of the trees is characterised by simple green touches and the colour of the sky merges with the water.

The Touch
The preoccupation of the impressionists was to fix the moment of a reality.
It is translated by a revolution in the pictorial technique:
the juxtaposition of colours.
The drawing no longer gives the form, only the touch creates the form.
The water
adapts wonderfully to this new way of painting

oil on canvas, Village, Rainy day, by Eugene MONTEZIN (1874-1946)
Size : 38 x 50.5 cm

Strongly influenced by Monet
Montézin excels in painting with a lively touch that seems to make the canvas vibrate.
His touch is made up of strong, rapid impastos that create the sensation of movement.

The rain

When it occurs, it transforms the landscape and creates a particular atmosphere.
The artist is then interested in "the sheet of water" that follows and covers the walls, the people, the earth, like a veil.
If the rain blurs the space and transforms the perception that one can have of the landscape,
Montézin's touch makes it almost concrete.
Here it is more the earth that one must look at than the sky.
On a country road that goes from green to grey, the artist, by means of flat areas of paint of varying widths, in shades of white and grey, gives concrete form to a waterlogged ground.

The Colour

Lovers of unmixed colours, the Impressionists could rely on new pigments, developed thanks to the progress of chemistry.
Paul Signac (1863-1935) was the great master of colour and water.
He visited Professor Chevreul, a specialist in colour perception:
the juxtaposition of colours on the canvas is retranscribed by the viewer's eye into an "optical mixture", several distinct colours are perceived as unique by the eye.

An oil on canvas, Lake, sun reflected in the water attributed to Emma TOLL (1847-1917)

Emma Toll, a Swedish painter, uses the splitting of colour to great effect in this painting.
On the left, the pure colours of the lake:
azure blue, light blue, white and green, applied in thick, unmixed strokes
On the right, darker colours, juxtaposed:
the green is the result of a blue and a yellow in the vicinity the orange of a red and a yellow.
A vivid black brings intensity to the composition.

The colour mastered in this way will create volume, perspective and relief.
These striking contrasts, but also a certain balance, give the painting its strength.

The Light

The Impressionists were especially interested in the rendering of the open air and the effects of the imperceptible and constant variations of light on the elements, which occurred according to the lighting, the season and the time of day.
They are working on a new way of painting linked to a new way of seeing.
They want to capture the fleeting impression that becomes the real subject to be painted. The sea, lakes, water become their favourite subjects.
They try to render
the shimmering of the light
on the moving liquid surface

Oil on canvas, Navy 19th century by Gunnar SVENSON (1892-1977)
Size; 74 x 52 cm

If the impressionists favoured fresh water
the sea was not forgotten,
as shown in the paintings
of Monet in Normandy or Cézanne in Marseille
Gunnar Svenson,
who travelled all over Europe
to apply the impressionist teachings perfectly
In this painting,
the beauty of the sea is offered to the viewer
by a simple play of light.
In a wide frame, where the horizon almost merges with the sky
the artist draws the eye to a bright white spot in the centre
-obviously a boat.
This white boat is the point of a triangle that the painter enlarges.
In the foreground, the light of the sky is reflected on the sea by close touches in variations of white, which radiate onto the rest of the canvas in successive waves.
The luminosity is magnified
by shades of blue and grey
thus creating a striking contrast


If you visit Monet's house in Giverny, you will discover a room entirely decorated with Japanese prints, which strongly influenced the artist.
The whole generation was inspired by this new, elegant and refined aesthetic.
With the reopening of Japan to the world, it is a flood of objects but especially prints that flood the West.

Ukiyo-e the art of the floating world :

Representation of daily life, the passing seasons, the falling rain...
Themes also favoured by the impressionists.
Water is one of the favourite themes of Japanese art.

Pastel Bather by Fernand FAU (1858-1915)
Dimensions : 60 x 62 cm

In this painting the artist tries to freeze the present moment.
He represents the variations of the light in the water, the subtle movement of the river revealed by some curved lines, as well as a subtle play of colours and revealing the reflections.
The lines of the drawing are fine and delicate, the curves of the waves and the arabesques of the branches, remind us of Japanese prints.
We find a purified graphics, a drawing simplified to a few lines, flat tints of pure and clear colours, an original framing, a slightly off-centre point of view, a high horizon line and a perfect treatment of the space