At the Seaside

  • About the work
    Country: USA
    City: New York
    Place: UK Mission to the United Nations

    This relaxed scene at Grenville, northwestern France, showing seaside leisure pursuits, was painted at a time when bathing in the sea, rather than just enjoying the social arena of the beach, had become an acceptable leisure activity. The painting demonstrates the influence of Continental styles, particularly Impressionism and the beach scenes of French artist Eugène Louis Boudin (1824-1898).

    However, when it was exhibited by Hunt under the title 'Sur la Plage, Grenville', at the winter exhibition of the Society of British Artists, London, in 1886, a reviewer writing for 'The Atheneum' commented:

    Mr. E. A. Hunt exhibits in Sur la Plage, Grenville (237), a rather cleverly painted collection of ladies' figures clad in gay- coloured and sparkling dresses on the seashore, in a soft, vaporous, sunlit effect. Mr. Hunt might have learnt to do better if he had imitated modern French art with care, taste, and self-restraint not manifest here.

    Hunt painted numerous coastal scenes, including views in New England, Massachusetts; Honfleur, northwestern France; and Sussex, England.

  • About the artist
    Edmund Aubrey Hunt was born near Boston, USA, the son of a manufacturer. After leaving school he travelled to Paris. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and under Jean-Léon Gérôme. He travelled through England, Holland, Belgium and Italy and, by 1879, had relocated to London. He exhibited in London and Boston and frequently returned to the USA. Returning from one USA excursion, he survived the sinking of his ship. He became an associate of Whistler’s. In the 1880s he made trips to Tangiers, later moving there and painting local people, land and seascapes. After more than a decade, he returned to the UK, living first in Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire, and later at Rye, Sussex. During the war he moved to Hastings, where he died, aged 67.
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  • Details
    At the Seaside
    Oil on canvas
    height: 101.00 cm, width: 130.00 cm
    Purchased from Sir Bruce Ingram, September 1963
    Signed and dated 'E Aubrey Hunt / 86'
    Collection of journalist and newspaper editor Sir Bruce Stirling Ingram (1877-1963); from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in September 1963
    GAC number