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Young Girls by the Seaside

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes1879

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898) was one of the most striking artists of the second half of the 19th century in Europe, known equally in the United States, due to his activities in the fields of composition, forms and monumental painting.

The aesthetics and the way the subject is tackled in Young Girls by the Seaside belong neither to "academicism" nor to Impressionism. The simplicity of the composition, the schematic drawing of the silhouettes, the small number of colours, the scarce relief, the lack of depth, the mat aspect of the surface, the general simplification and the neutrality of the subject inspired from antiquity with the incredible motif of the figure shown from the back all testify to a completely original poetic vision. This deeply marked contemporaries and following generations down to Matisse and Picasso who drew direct inspiration from it.

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