Tour at Two: Stanislas Lépine

Stanislas Lépine participated in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874, but it was to be the only one. He has often been described as a bit of a loner and enjoyed the solitude of painting in more remote locations. Either in the late 1870s or early 1880s (he rarely dated his work), Lépine ventured to La Grande Jatte, an island in the Seine northwest of Paris, to paint its relatively rustic views. In the nineteenth century, it was an easily accessible retreat for Parisian picnickers, weekend travelers, and artists eager to escape the stifling city. 

Working with a limited palette, Lépine painted this idyllic view of the island and a languid stretch of the Seine in the hazy heat of summer—but without its usual holiday revelers. Tucked away on a small dirt path, he was able to covertly capture the lone fisherman and other idlers along the banks of the river.  He successfully juxtaposes the stagnant air with the slow, trickling movement of the water.  And the dramatic curtain provided by the large tree at the right of the composition gives the viewer a feeling like they have just discovered a serene paradise, far removed from the noise and congestion of Paris.

STANISLAS VICTOR-ÉDOUARD LÉPINE, The Island of La Grande Jatte in Summer, ca. 1877 – 1882; Oil on canvas; Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Hugo N. Dixon, 1975.21

Posted by Kristen Rambo at 7:00 AM
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