Amédée Julien Marcel-Clément 

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Biography of Amédée Julien Marcel-Clément  ( 1873-? )

Amédée Julien Marcel-Clément made his first Exhibition of the National Society of Fine Arts in 1903. He regularly exhibited there during this whole career, as well as at the Independent Exhibition, where he exhibited many paintings.  Between 1913 and 1914, he also presented his work in England at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool and at the Royal Scottish Academy.

Even though he had lived his whole life in Paris, Marcel-Clément only painted a small number of views of his home town. Indeed, the majority of his paintings showed French coastlines and seascapes, in particular Dinard, where he had a second home.  His seascapes gained him his reputation and showed his talent for such particular light effects.  This light, which came from the sky, gently landed in a thousand reflections on the sea, creating a very realist, and sometimes dramatic, effect. The artist used a wide variety of greys and blues, which he interspersed cleverly with whites and creams, in order to create a mirror-like effect between the sky and the water. Marcel-Clément also liked to use contrasts, thus opposing a firm brushstroke with sombre hues with a more vague atmosphere and luminous reflects.  By using simplified forms and almost abstract surfaces, he managed  to evoke the sails of boats with surprising realism.  Moreover, the artist’s chosen point of view always invites the spectator to project himself into the scene.

This painting is characteristic of the artist’s work in his handling of light and the simplification of the shapes.  The abstract surfaces and the volume of the outlines are sufficient in showing a very realistic sea scene.  However, the painter never gave way to the easy solution and carefully endeavoured to portray the atmosphere of the scene, which he was capable of doing with limited means and a relatively simple colour palette.  The light, springing up from a cloudy sky, lands on the horizon in the middle of a group of boats, whose browny-orange sails contrast with the green leaves in the foreground.  The waves and foam which meet on the shore look very realistic.  All these things make the painting look very stylised, cleverly studied with the inspiration of a Japanese expert.  In particular, the way the trees are painted echo the shapes of the clouds, giving the painting the impression of a subtle mix between realism and stylisation inspired by some etchings. 

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