1870 Florac - 1959 Paris
Oil on paper, 27,5 x 36 cm
Dated « juin 1895 »
Verso: inscribed « Bordeaux Juin 1895 » 


In this painting, Lacoste presents us with two sailing ships in the calm waters of the Garonne, standing out against the silhouette of Bordeaux. 

In the years around 1890, Lacoste favoured a geometric design and a treatment of uniform plane surfaces. The silhouettes of the sailing ships are recurrent motifs which the artist very often used during this period. The harmonies of delicate and discrete tones of grey blue, mauve and dusky pink, can also be found in his works of the same period (Fig.1 till 4).

The effects of mist and the shades of its colours, are a heritage of his stays in London. In the year 1890, Lacoste frequented intellectual circles in London. His friends there included such outstanding personalities as Charles de Bordeu, André Gide, Arthur Fontaine and the brothers Rouart.

The sailing ships depicted emerge from the morning or evening light, like "phantom ships". They create an unique atmosphere, charged with symbolism. 


Text by Amélie du Closel


Charles Lacoste, 1870-1959 : 60 ans de peinture entre symbolisme et naturalisme, Paris, mairie du XVIe arrondissement, april-may 1895, Beauvais, musée départemental de l’Oise, june - september 1985, Bordeaux, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, novembre 1985, Exposition Catalogue, Paris, 1985. 

Fig. 1 Charles Lacoste, Ships on the open sea at Bordeaux, signed « CL janvier 1895 », inscribed on the back « Bordeaux. Janvier 1895 », oil on paper, 14,5 x 31 cm, private collection


Fig. 2 Charles Lacoste, Bordeaux , 1895, Oil on paper, 19.5 x 31 cm.

Fig. 3 Charles Lacoste, The basin of Arcachon, dated « Arcachon. Septembre 1895 », oil on paper, 17,5 x 32 cm, private collection


Fig. 4 Charles Lacoste, Devant Bordeaux , 1896, oil on paper, 16.5 x 25 cm, private collection