A fantastic depiction of a day at the beach at Trouville in 19th century France, this grand oil on canvas painting by Paul-Emile Morlon is is surrounded by a giltwood frame adorned with carvings of floral margents, Rococo-style foliage, and bundled fasces. A brass placard is affixed near the bottom of the frame, with Morlon’s name above “Ec. Fr. 19th Century”, denoting that Morlon belonged to the French School of the late 1800’s.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the painting is the color, or more specifically, the use of shading. Notice how the beachgoers on the left, frolicking in the water and the sand, are bathed in light from the sun, while the formal gathering near the grass covered area on the right is muted by shade. The clothing of the more affluent citizens are very vibrant as well, with the viewer’s eye being drawn to two ladies walking arm-in-arm in the center of the painting. Their ankle-length dresses have lively hues of green and blue which make them stand out from the golden sand surrounding them. Nearby two kids are playing with toy boats in a small tidal pool while there is a child riding a mule near the seated and well-dressed group.
Born Paul Emile Antoine Morlon, in 1834 in Sully-sur-Loire, Morlon went professionally by “Antoine”, signing most of his works as seen in the lower right corner of our canvas (interestingly, the brass placard indicates the initial “A” stood for Anthony). Known for using maritime subjects in his paintings, Morlon’s early works were lively, typically depicting athletic endeavors, such as swimming and rowing. About 1883, Morlon shifted towards illustrating the struggle of man vs nature, often showing seafarers battling storms or choppy waters. The lighthearted scene of our oil on canvas painting indicates that it was painted before Morlon’s transition, circa 1870.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with light craquelure in some areas. Small touchups to the canvas with minor rubs and loss of gilding to the frame, which is original. Wired in the back for hanging. Please see photos for details.