Argelers Beach

by Hilda Clements Hassel


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 16 x 18 ins (41 x 46 cms)
SIGNATURE: Signed lower right
MEDIUM: Oil on panel

Catalogue No: 4448 Categories: ,

Provenance: Private Collection, United Kingdom

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Relatively little known of Hilda Clements Hassell, except what can be learned from her broad oeuvre of work. She was a French artist, who worked at the turn of the century in France, and lived for a time in London too. She exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1911, amongst other exhibitions. She is known to have spent time in Cornwall, and painted scenes from the popular artists’ location of St Ives. From her painting titles, it seems clear that Clements Hassell travelled widely, and was particularly fond of Cap d’Antibes in the south of France, and the Spanish coast.

Hassell’s paintings are executed in a bold and lively Impressionist style. Her work is known for broad brushstrokes, liberal use of colour and a mixture of medium and texture. It is likely that Hassel associated with other well-known Impressionist painters. Cap d’Antibes and the South of France, as well as St Ives, were hubs of Modern art activity at the start of the 20th Century. Monet and Courbet were pioneers of this free style of painting, which was inspired by the work of British artist John Constable.

The Impressionists found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by working quickly, in front of their subjects, in the open air (‘en plein air’) rather than in a studio. This resulted in a greater awareness of light and colour and the shifting pattern of the natural scene. Brushwork became rapid and broken into separate dabs in order to render the fleeting quality of light. Clements Hassel, working in the early 20th Century, developed this free style of painting even further. In the work of the early Impressionists, their brushstrokes are visible, but still very tight and precise. Hassell’s brushstrokes are even bigger and give a suggestion of atmosphere and form, rather than a clear depiction of it. As the value of Impressionist paintings rise, her work is now much sought after in France and England.

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