A genre painter who arose from the crowd of artists following in the wake of the Impressionists of France, Paul-Michel Dupuy made an impact through paintings of people at recreation on the beach and in the mountains. He excelled in the use of both oil and watercolor, studying with Bonnat and Maignan. He became a member of the Society of French Artists in 1899, and he was received so well that he was made a Chevalier in the Legion of Honor, receiving the award in 1903.
Within his varied output, people - especially women and children - dominate the foreground as prime subjects while the settings play important in establish the mood of the piece. In this fine singular example of beach leisure, a lady of some social standing keeps a eye out along the coast as numerous far off figures play in the surf and shallows. The prominent point with its rocky top and large building make this the French Coast near Biarritz, along the Bay of Biscay in country's southwest.
The waters off Biarritz provided lifetimes of economic opportunity, first as a premier whaling port and then as a vacation getaway for Europe's Royal Families and well-to-do society. The water itself was reputed to possess healing and therapeutic properties. The lighthearted sense of the lady sitting in idle enjoyment, comfortably dressed beneath the canopy in a laced hat, mindful of those at play, enjoying their day at the beach.
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