Colorful with pleasing extremes and showing human activity beach-side, this painting by Francois Gall is universally appealing. It possesses a combination of styles which Gall educated himself in and made his own, to great acclaim during his lifetime. Its Post-Impressionist base is blended with elements of Fauvism outlines and even the strict tenants of the School of Rome, where Gall first studied, in the tight geometry of his parallel and perpendicular pilings and steps of the jetty pier.
Ribbons in their hair and pink summery dress on the two little girls playing before their chaperone in the sand, they have left an ever-so-subtle ethereal wake across the painting in their movements. Their little brother, in his black-and-white stripes, is busy with his excavation. A well dressed couple and many others are walking on the pier itself, while along with the bathing suited couple, they appear to be watching the sloops sailing the ocean water. The combination of highly desirable subjects of people at leisure at the ocean with Gall’s excellent artistic contributions makes this a top work.
Arcachon was already a famous seaside resort in the early 19TH Century and is home to the shallow ocean basin where the French have farmed oysters for centuries. The “Summer Quarter” of the city includes this stretch of beach, casinos, and this long pier along what is called the “Silver Coast”, between the estuary of Gironde and the Pyrénées Mountain. At the south end of the beach are the largest dunes in Europe. No wonder so many vacationers, from the aristocracy to these children and the artist Gall, loved to visit.
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