The Boulogne Coast of France, bordering a southern length of the English Channel, is home to many fishing harbors. Northeast of La Havre, one finds the town of Fécamp, as Theodore Weber did late in the 19th century. He has captured the ordinary day and fashioned a remarkable painting.
An elegance seldom given to fishing craft resides in this work. Weber uses geometric symmetry to hold the eye in presenting these working boats. The quality of depth portrayed is remarkable. The ocean’s vast distance is communicated in the scale of the traveling ships, and is complimented by their atmosphere’s varying quality of light. The deeper foreground gives way to sun-lit sea out on the horizon, with crisp reflections and shadows cast.
Strong coloration in the vibrant clothing reds and crisp white of the pier rails blend with the muted atmosphere of billowy clouds and calm greens of the sea. Weber paces the scene leisurely, whether one looks at the square-sailed boats underway, the slow stroke of the rower or the slightly stooped person carrying the basic tool of the trade, a fishing pole, over his shoulder. No need to hurry, the eternal ocean is going to be there when he’s ready.
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