Desolate coastal landscape

Félix Vallotton finds the inspiration for this work in the northern French coastal town of Honfleur, where he owns a house and regularly spends his holidays. But the artist ignores the picturesque town itself and paints a desolate, weather-ravaged coastal landscape.

Sombre atmosphere

The rather sombre atmosphere is typical of Vallotton’s work, with the ominous rainy sky and the dark row of trees painted almost like petrified silhouettes. The light that breaks through the opening in the clouds falls brightly on the upper edge of the almost turquoise fishing nets, which are hung out to dry on sticks, and on a part of the road, where two lonely figures walk.

Removed from literal imitation

The painting is a striking representation of Vallotton’s pursuit of a kind of painting that is removed from any literal imitation of nature. He seeks to make landscapes ‘based solely upon the emotion they evoked in me, a few suggestive lines, one or two sublime details, without meticulously adhering to the time of day or incidence of light’.