In the second half of the 19th century, Martí Alsina was considered the grand master of Catalan realism. Born in Barcelona on 10th August 1826, he began by studying both art (he attended night classes at the Escola de Llotja) and philosophy, though in the end he gave up the latter. An eminently self-taught and extraordinarily prolific artist, he worked in all the pictorial genres, though from a very early age he felt particularly drawn to landscapes. In 1848 he made his first trip to Paris, where he discovered the European trends of the age. He also discovered the French realists, including Courbet and the Barbizon school. In 1852 he was appointed teacher in line drawing at the Escola de Llotja, where he taught his students how to paint nature. Thus he ended up becoming the teacher of an entire generation of Catalan landscape artists. After a number of family misfortunes which resulted in him falling into debt and finally bankruptcy, he ended up having to paint non-stop simply to survive. To that end he had no fewer than seven workshops in Barcelona, where his numerous helpers and students produced works on an almost industrial scale, and to which the painter himself only added a few final touches and his signature.
This coastal landscape demonstrates the realism that was typical of his works, and the perfection of his technique. It includes all the favourite elements of seascape artists – oars, waves, clouds and stretches of coast. The combination enables the painter to play with the colour, lighting and different tonalities.