Eva Gonzalès (1849–83)
Children playing on Sand Dunes, Grand-Camp, 1877–78
Oil on canvas, 46 x 56 cm
Purchased, 1972 (Shaw Fund)
This is one of several works that Gonzalès painted while visiting the seaside resort of Grand-Camp in northern Brittany c.1877-78. It depicts local children resting by a path that leads to the sea. A basket of fish lies beside them. The triangular form of the group locates the focal point in the foreground. The composition is dominated by areas of sand and grass, which have been painted in a loose sketchy style using a variety of brushestrokes. The colouring is muted and naturalistic. The blue sea runs along the high horizon line and is just about visible in the distance.
About the Artist
Eva Gonzalès met Edouard Manet in 1869; she modelled for him and was his only formal pupil. Although associated with the Impressionists, Gonzalès preferred to exhibit at the Salon rather than at their independent exhibitions. She concentrated on portraits, still-lifes and scenes from contemporary life. As is demonstrated in this painting, Gonzalès followed Manet’s technique of building up a picture from sketchy under-painting.