Ferdinand du Puigaudeau, Nighttime Boat Ride at Briere
Ferdinand du Puigaudeau (1864-1930) was a French painter. He experienced modest success during his life, including a solo show at the Galerie des Artistes Modernes. He also built strong friendships with artists such as Paul Gauguin, Childe Hassam, and Edgar Degas. However, Puigaudeau never achieved the levels of success that his friends did. His early works demonstrate an interest in the lives of peasants, and in painting festivals and celebrations. In 1904, Puigaudeau traveled to Venice with his family, and painted over fifty views of the city. Although Puigaudea exhibits definite skill and produced beautiful paintings, he never really developed a strong artistic voice as his peers did. When he returned to Paris from Venice, his career began to decline and never regained its vitality. In his later years he painted bright, intense landscapes that differ from his earlier work which favored dusk and night scenes. Nighttime Boat Ride at Briere is one such painting, as well as one of Puigaudeau's most original. The simplicity of the scene is combined with the somewhat ominous clouds. In addition to their striking coloring, the clouds loom large above the scene, a great mass of purple. The also curl and stretch toward each other to create interesting shapes and dominate the upper part of the canvas. The clouds are also used skillfully in their reflections to illuminate the water and the figures in the boat. The palette throughout the painting is quite interesting, demonstrating a small range of blues and purples, that Puigaudea puts to excellent use in rendering the twilight.