Edouard Manet
(Paris, 1832-1883, Paris)
The Bassin d'Arcachon, 1871
Oil on canvas, 37 x 56 cm
Signed lower right: Manet
Rouart/Wildenstein 166
From Oloron-Sainte-Marie Manet proceeds with his family, at the end of February 1871, via Bordeaux, where he paints the harbour, to Arcachon. Here Manet rents for March the Villa Servanti on the Bay, the windows giving on to the sea providing excellent opportunities for the painter. This is clear from a water-colour done here showing the artist’s wife and her son in a room, with a view through an open window on to the bay, and this view also proves that "The Bassin d’Arcachon" must have been painted from here or in the immediate vicinity of the Villa.
This small sketch-like picture, which contains a minimum of details, has preserved all the freshness of a first impression and is especially fascinating owing to the tracery of the branches of the young trees on the nearby shore, the effect of which is taken up by the masts of the anchored ships, in optical contrast to the undulating horizontals of shore, bay and distant strand.