Henry Moret painted copious views of the Breton landscape, almost always including elements of water (the river Belon, the ocean, or the bay of Douarnenez, for example). He also found fascinating subject matter in the towering cliffs, wind-blown grasses on seaside hills, and stormy skies. As can be seen with Temps Brumeux, Bretagne, most of these paintings are completed from a hovering perspective. Moret provides the viewer with panoramic views of coast where one seems to be perched above the scene, omnisciently surveying the Bretagne landscape. With this vantage point, he masterfully captures nature in a vast, ambitious manner.
Moret also chose to paint places where forces of nature collide; he found inspiration in the “sublime” landscape versus static idyllic scenes. For example, with Temps Brumeux, Bretagne, it actually appears that the land is sliding or falling into the ocean—Moret’s hills are painted at sharp angles and downward brushstrokes carry the eye tumbling towards the waves. The artist’s aggressive brushstrokes and strong palette communicate the violence and power of waves matched against the unyielding force of granite outcrops.
Despite the ferocity of this landscape, Moret leads the viewer to observe beauty in nature’s awesome power. Utilizing a vibrant palette of lush greens, deep blues, and fiery peaches, he provides the viewer with an array of rich contrasting colors to consider. In particular, he lavishes the canvas with dominant, jewel-like blues and emerald greens. The “wild” landscape of Brittany is also tamed by the presence of local people in this composition. Moret traditionally incorporates two small figures in his landscapes—women with grazing cows, men fishing, or people sailing—all are seen utilizing this seemingly inhospitable landscape in a symbiotic manner. In keeping with this artistic practice, Moret's Temps Brumeux, Bretagne also captures the interesting coexistence of Breton locals with the blustery shoreline.
Henry Moret’s artistic career began after completing his formal education at the École National des Beaux-Arts under Jean-Paul Laurens and Jean-Léon Gérôme. Moret quickly rejected his academic training in favor of the painting techniques of the Impressionists. In 1888 he moved to Pont-Aven, where he worked alongside his friends Paul Gaugin and Emile Bernard and was introduced to the tenets of Symbolism. After Gaugin left Pont-Aven in 1891, however, Moret returned to his earlier Impressionist style. In 1896, he settled in the nearby fishing village of Doelen where his art, a combination of Impressionist handling of the paint and the subjective treatment of color, reached its maturity.
Museum Collections Include:
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Musee des Beaux-Arts de Quimper, France; National Museums & Galleries of Wales; Musee National des Douanes, Bordeaux; Musee des Beaux-Arts de Brest, France; Museum of Modern Religious Art, Vatican City; Queensland National Art Gallery & Museum, Australia; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; University of Wyoming Art Museum; Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; Sheffield Art Galleries, U.K.; Southhampton Art Gallery, U.K.; Museum of St. Petersburg, Russia; Toledo Museum of Art, OH; Norton Gallery and School of Art, West Palm Beach