Henry Moret, born on 12th of January, 1856, stands tall among the French Impressionist painters. Closely associated with Paul Gauguin in the artist colony of Pont-Aven, Brittany, he gained prominence for his vibrant portrayals of the Brittany coastline.
Originating from Cherbourg, details of Moret’s early life remain scanty until 1875, when he began his military journey. His artistic prowess was first spotted by Jules La Villette, his commander in Lorient. Subsequently, Ernest Corroller, a noted marine painter and drawing instructor, introduced Moret to the nuances of landscape art. This exposure paved his way to the esteemed École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1876. Under the mentorship of Rudolf Lehmann, Jean-Léon Gérôme, and Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian, Moret honed his skills.
Initially a classical artist, Moret’s style underwent a transformation, inspired by Gauguin and the Pont-Aven circle. With time, his artwork leaned more towards Impressionism, mirroring his profound admiration for nature. Maxime Maufra, in “Henry Moret, aquarelles et peinture 1856–1913,” observed Moret’s dedication to capturing the essence of diverse terrains. An exhibition catalogue lauds Moret for harmoniously merging two opposing art styles – Pont-Aven’s Syntheticism and Impressionism.
In 1880, Moret’s painting, La plage de Locqueltas à marée basse; côte de Bretagne, was showcased at the Paris Salon. Despite his burgeoning reputation, he remained in touch with Corroller, frequently visiting Brittany. By 1888, he became part of the Pont-Aven artist enclave, increasingly showing Symbolist tendencies, likely influenced by Gauguin.
1891 saw Moret forging his unique style. In 1895, he collaborated with Paul Durand-Ruel, a key proponent of Impressionism, which catapulted his fame in art circles in Paris, London, and New York. His innovative technique, where he replaced broad strokes with minute flecks of paint, was evident post-1900. Moret’s fascination with light interplay shone in his renditions of sunsets and stormy scenarios around 1909. In his prolific career, besides oils, he crafted watercolors and sketches. He breathed his last in Paris at 56.