Summer arrives, and life becomes easy.
Summer arrives, and life becomes easy.

Summer arrives, and life becomes easy.

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Mathilde Crétiert, illustrator

The cycle of the seasons is the source of many myths and legends, and has inspired artists the world over.

Studying the seasons in art means understanding how artists have transcribed their reality into images over time.

As the summer months arrive, we revel in the pleasant temperatures and the lengthening days.
We enjoy the lightness of life so typical of the summer season.

Whether allegorical or pragmatic, idealised or realistic, summer has been depicted in art for thousands of years.

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Lelong swimwear, 1929, by George Hoyningen-Huene

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Tom Haugomat, french illustrator.

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Charles Camoin’s painting.

Charles Camoin, born in Marseille on 23 September 1879 and died in Paris on 20 May 1965, was a French painter.

Along with Matisse, Manguin, Marquet, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, Camoin took part in the 1905 Salon d’Automne, the birthplace of Fauvism, to which he would henceforth be attached.

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“Summer hats”, William Ireland (1927-2015).

William Ireland is a colourist who trained at the Glasgow School of Art. He has painted many landscapes in his native Scotland, as well as the houses he has lived in or visited in the United Kingdom and France. His paintings are always characterised by a warm, luminous palette.

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                                                         Yayoi Kusama, “Watermelon”, 1986, signed silkscreen. Photo © Christie’s
Watermelon, made up mainly of water, is the ultimate refreshing fruit. In this 1986 work, produced in acrylics (in 1984) and silkscreen, Yayoi Kusama takes up the subject of the fruit and applies her colourful pop style. This still life, composed of different motifs, reveals the artist’s famous peas in the main elements of the composition: the watermelon and the cutlery.

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Georgy Kurasov

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                                               David Hockney, “Beach Umbrella”, 1971, acrylic, 124.4 x 92.7 cm. Photo © Christie’s
When we think of David Hockney and summer, we first think of his famous swimming pools. But his painting of a parasol on the beach, done on the Côte d’Azur, exudes an atmosphere that could not be more summery. Although it may seem lonely, this parasol was certainly not the only one planted on Mediterranean beaches to offer a little shade to tourists.

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                                     Anders Zorn, “Sommar”, 1887, watercolour, 67 x 38 cm, signed and dated. Photo © Bukowskis
After getting married in October 1885, the Swedish painter Anders Zorn and his young wife Emma went on a honeymoon to Eastern Europe and Turkey. Returning to Sweden in the summer of 1886, the couple spent some time with Emma’s family on the island of Dalarö, off the coast of Stockholm, where the painting Sommar was produced in 1887.

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                                                                “The Beach” by Alexandra Djokic, acrylic painting, 72 x 81 cm.

Aleksandra Dokić is a Serbian composer whose music spans the spectrum of musical genres from piano, chamber and orchestral music to musical theatre, film and electronic music.
Composer, pianist, sound designer, music producer, painter….

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Terrace in the garden”, Henri Lebasque (1865-1937, France)

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Pablo Picasso, “The Tuileries Gardens”, 1901

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“Holiday reading”, Carl Larsson

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Uma Gokhale

“Bathing”, Gustave Fischer, Danish painter, 1850-1934

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Fedor Zakharov was born in 1882 in Astrakhan, a large city on the Caspian Sea at the mouth of the Volga.

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John Lavery, “Played!!” 1885

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Charles Courtney Courran, (American), “The artist’s wife on the banks of Lake Erie”, 1893

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Photo of Paul Kelley

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This painting by the great Claude Monet (1840-1926), “La plage à Trouville” 1870, oil on canvas, 54 x 65 cm, Atheneum Museum of Art, Connecticut (USA), is a lovely little holiday treat.

                                                                     Henri Lebasque (French, 1865-1937), “Picking Flowers” 1923

A friend of Pierre Bonnard and Pissaro, Henri Lebasque’s style was influenced by the Impressionist movement. He took part in group exhibitions at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon des Artistes Français, as well as founding the Salon d’Automne in 1903, of which he remained a member until his death.

A highly creative artist, Lebasque produced a large number of works, often depicting members of his family.

Henri Lebasque discovered the South of France around 1906 thanks to his friend Manguin, who invited him to stay at his villa in Saint-Tropez. The Mediterranean light was a real revelation.

He returned regularly to Provence and finally settled in Le Cannet in 1924, where he led a secluded and discreet life until his death in 1937.

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Arstan Dukuev, “Sunny day” (2022), born in 1993 in Osh (Kyrgyzstan), currently lives in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

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                                            “Women sewing and reading”, Henri Lebasque (French, 1865-1937)                                                   

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“Le goûter sur la terrasse à Sainte-Maxime”(1914) by Henri Lebasque, detail, oil on canvas

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“The picnic” 1912, by painter and printmaker Laura Knight (1877-1970)Oil on canvas – 145 x 120 cm, private collection.

Taking her inspiration from everyday life, this figurative painter established herself as a social realist artist in the 1920s.

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“An afternoon on the lake”, 1918, by American painter Edward Cucuel (1879 – 1954), oil on canvas, 103 x 91.5 cm, private collection.

Born in San Francisco, a painter and newspaper illustrator whose father was a German newspaper publisher, he moved to Germany in 1907 where he produced many illustrations.
In Munich, he met the painter Léo Putz, who introduced him to plein air painting.
Edward Cucuel also became a member of the Munich Secession, which was reminiscent of the Vienna Secession.
He returned to the USA at the start of the Second World War.
Although he was originally from San Francisco, his style, like that of many American artists at the end of the 19th century, was influenced by Impressionism in Europe.
His paintings depict idyllic scenes of young women and girls, bathed in bright colours where the omnipresent sun punctuates the pictures with mottled areas.
The artist enjoyed immense prestige in both the USA and Germany, and was a major Impressionist painter whose paintings fetched high prices on the American art market.

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“The green parasol”, 1909, by the American artist Guy Orlando Rose (1867 – 1925) Born in California, the artist moved to Paris in 1888 and studied at the Académie Julian.

He left for New York in 1890 and taught at the Pratt Institute.
Returning to France in 1899, he bought a house in Giverny, where he met Monet and the Impressionists.
Since then, his art has been heavily influenced by the Impressionist style, and he mainly produced landscapes and portraits of women.

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“Calm morning” 1904, oil on canvas, by the American painter Frank Weston Benson (1862-1951), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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“Mi mujer e mis hijas en el jardin” (My wife and daughters in the garden), 1910, by the Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923), oil on canvas – detail – coll. Massaveu (Oviedo – Spain).

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“Elegant women on a beach”, oil on canvas – Undated, by French painter Raoul du Gardier (1871-1952)

This painting was exhibited in 1902 at the Salon des Artistes Français.

Edward Hopper, “Second Story Sunlight”, 1960

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Henri Lebasque, “Young girls on the beach”

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Georg Dienz, “Surferin”.
The act of undressing, as well as being fascinating, erotic and a little mysterious, reveals the whiteness of our silhouette.

                                               Slim Aarons, Various works, Beach art 2, Harbour islandn Bahamas, 2020

Photographer Slim Aarons isn’t famous for just one beach photo – he’s famous for hundreds!

He served as a combat photographer in the US Army during the Second World War.

So, after the war ended, Aarons decided to concentrate on the beauty of the world. In his own words, he enjoys “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”. So it’s no surprise that beautiful beaches feature in his iconic holiday photographs.

“End of Summer” (1924), Hermann Wessel, 1878-1969, American painter

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Paul Cézanne, “The Bathers”, 1890

Cézanne painted and drew hundreds of bathers by a river in summer. In the tradition of a theme already tackled by Titian and Poussin, he nevertheless broke with the academic codes by merging the human figure with the landscape. Despite postures reminiscent of Greek statues, the pictorial treatment typical of the Impressionist movement gives a spontaneous, ethereal quality to this scene of Bathers, evoking memories of the French painter’s youth with his friends in the river Arc.

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“Two in the pool”, Maren Devine, painting on canvas, contemporary artist who lives in Dallas, Texas, with her family.
She is inspired by people, colours, music, the ocean, flowers and animals.

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David Hockney (1965), “Two Boys in the Pool, Hollywood”, acrylic on canvas, private collection, “Restrospective David Hockney” exhibition, Centre Pompidou, Paris.

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“Summer and our life were one and the same
The countryside ate the colour of your fragrant skirt
Greed and constraint were reconciled.
The Château de Maubec sank into the clay
Soon the roll of its lyre would collapse
The violence of the plants made us waver

It was the beginning of adorable years.
The earth loved us a little I remember…”


“Le visage Nuptial” “Évadné

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Victor Bauer (American painter), Ocean Breeze”.

“Far in front of the villas on the sea wall, she crouched, knees to her chin, in the breeze, on the wet sand of the tide. She could spend hours in front of the waves, in the din, engulfed in their rhythm as in the grey expanse, increasingly noisy and immense, of the sea”.

Pascal Quignard
Villa Amalia

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“Summer delight”, 1886, Anders Zorn (Sweden).

“Waiting. All human wisdom is in this one word. The greatest, the strongest, and above all the most skilful is he who knows how to wait.”

Alexandre Dumas

Henri Lebasque, 1865-1937, Sainte Maxime ..

Summer…1920, cover of La Vie Parisienne magazine, France.

When it comes to music, it’s impossible not to mention “Summer Time”! Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong… the list goes on!

This jazz standard comes from an aria in George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess (1935). The text of this bittersweet lullaby is intended to be optimistic. But there’s a big gap between its gentle text and its context. In fact, this hit tells the story of life for African-Americans in South Carolina in the 1930s. The sound of this song is ambiguous because it is a blues. So it’s neither sad nor happy, but both!

Despite this heavy context, I personally can’t help associating this song with that pleasant floating sensation… When you’re on holiday in the summer under a shining sun…


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