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Cliffs at Veulettes-sur-Mer

Not on view

Cliffs at Veulettes-sur-Mer

Artist: Stephen Parrish (American, 1846-1938)

Date: 1884
Medium: Graphite and chinese white on heavy tan paper
Overall: 7 × 13in. (17.8 × 33cm)
Inscribed: Recto, lower left: Title; lower right: "S. Parrish"; verso [in ink]: Parrish estate stamp; [in graphite]: pencil annotations by the grandson, Maxfield Parrish, Jr.
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 2004.22
Label Text
Parrish was raised in Philadelphia by a devout Quaker family that supported his interest in art. In 1867 he traveled to Paris and London for the first time, an experience that ultimately led him to become an artist. He became one of America's most accomplished printmakers at a time when etchings were popular with the art-buying public. The landscape of eastern North America was his most beloved subject but he was also attracted to the French countryside and coast.

Parrish made this drawing in France at Veulettes-sur-mer, a small seaside resort on the Normandy coast halfway between the cities of Dieppe and Fécamp. This area is known as the Alabaster Coast because of the flint and marl strata in its chalk cliffs. Parrish and his family sojourned in Veulettes from September 29 to October 11, 1884. Although other drawings he made in Veulettes at this time were subsequently used as sources for etchings, this one was not. However, the strongly defined cliffs depicted in this work suggest that Parrish was exploring the pictorial potential of this view. The white highlights broaden the work's tonal range while simultaneously emphasizing the cliff's profile and giving visual interest to the water in the foreground.

Paul Torres
Hamilton College Intern
March 2006