Description & Technical information

Like such artists as Paul Gauguin, Maurice Denis, Paul Serusier and Claude-Emile Schuffenecker, Pierre Prins was fond of the small town of Le Pouldu, on the Atlantic coast of Brittany, which he visited four times, in 1888, 1892, 1899 and 1900. Drawn on the last of these trips, the present sheet has been exhibited several times, most recently in 2013, when it was noted that ‘With the pastel La Laïta au Pouldu, the artist offers...a wide view of the river flowing into the ocean; the eye is only stopped by the hills on the horizon. The vast expanse of water thus gives pride of place to the reflections of nature, the sky and the light on its surface. A sailing boat...seems ready to cross the mouth of the river.’

A related oil painting by Prins of The Mouth of the River Laïta at Le Pouldu is recorded but is now lost. A large pastel of the same subject - The Laïta at Le Pouldu at Low Tide, signed and dated September 1899 - is in a private collection in France.

As Daniel Wildenstein has noted, ‘Prins was above all a painter of the sky and of light in their most subtle expressions. With the art of a visionary, and yet without any of the fairy-tale romance of Turner and Bonington, he was capable of catching their most fleeting effects. In this he was particularly successful with pastel, which he used with great mastery and which, in his hand, turns into a luminous haze in boundless space, resting on a very low, very distant horizon only slightly more substantial than the clouds. He makes the slightness of pastel serves [sic] the insubstantiality of the sky, thus bringing the means and the end into harmony.’

Medium: Pastel on paper, laid down on board
Signature: Signed Pierre Prins at the lower right.
Further signed and dated 1900 / PP at the lower right. Inscribed La Laïta au Pouldu / 1899 and stamped COLL. J. Cl. BARRIÉ twice on the backing board.
Stamped 65 on the backing board.

Dimensions: 26.9 x 65.5 cm (10⁵/₈ x 25³/₄ inches)
Provenance: Jean-Claude Barrié, the Barrié-Chevalier collection, Saint-Amans-des-Cots (with the collection stamp, not in Lugt, on the backing board).
Literature: Fécamp, Musée de Fécamp, Pierre Prins: un pastelliste impressioniste, 2013, p.79.

Exhibitions: L’Isle-Adam, Musée Louis Senlecq, Charles Agard 1866-1950: Peintre de l’Ecole du Val d’Oise, 1993 (according to a label on the old backing board, but not in the catalogue); Aulnay-sous-Bois, Galerie de l’Hôtel de Ville, Un certain regard (1850-1950): Oeuvres sur papier, 1994, no.28; Chatou, Musée Fournaise, Pierre Prins, l’ami de Manet, 1999, no.64, ‘Paysages’ no.4; Fécamp, Musée de Fécamp, Pierre Prins: un pastelliste impressioniste, 2013.  

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints