Cadell's talent as a painter was visible from a young age and developed through the influence of the French Impressionists and his training at the Academie Julien in Paris. His spontaneous use of bold and bright colour increased his status as one of the most influential and prolific artists within the Colourist group. He was considered an 'optimist' in his take on his subjects which is reflected in the present piece. He shows us a Venice which is bright, vibrant and clean.
Cadell travelled to Venice in 1910, financed by his patron Patrick Ford who felt that the light and the vitality of the city would prove inspirational to the artist. The city was to provide the ideal setting for his natural talent and allowed him to experiment with effects of light and colour. The size of the present work would suggest that it was painted en plein air, as the Impressionists had done; one can see the strength of this influence in the use of Cadell's loose brushwork. You can almost sense the movement of the clouds due to the strength and the vibrancy of the brushstrokes.
The present panel is comparable with The Steps to the Canal, Venice (Sotheby's, 19 April 2004, lot 66) and also The Jesuati, Santa Maria della Visitazione (Sotheby's, 1 September 2004, lot 864). Although smaller in scale, the present work is no less significant in illustrating Cadell's daring and masterful use of colour. The rich and textured surface created through the thick application of paint and rough brushstrokes contribute to the action and movement of the scene.
The work that Cadell produced in Venice was of a different quality to his previous works. He was inspired by the light and surroundings clearly evident in the present work and took great joy in depicting the spirit of the city and the joi de vie of its people.
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