The importance of Anne Estelle Rice has been recently reassessed and she is now justly regarded as the most prominent female member of the group of Colourists artists. The vitality of her drawing and the boldness of her colouring expresses the enthusiasm she felt for her subjects and the confidence of her abilities. Her landscapes and townscapes are at their finest when inhabited with figures and she was able to capture the brilliance of sunlight and human activity in a very modern manner.
Rice was born in Philadelphia in 1879 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in her home city but it was her time in France in the early twentieth century that her distinctive style developed. Rice first visited France in 1906, travelling with the aim of making illustrations of fashionable society. She became a member of the Societaire de Salon d'Automne a year later around the time that she held her first solo exhibition in London, at the Baillie Gallery. Around this time she met John Duncan Fergusson who was delighted by her beauty, intellect and talent. Fergusson gave Rice encouragement in her art and by 1911 she was a significant contributor to his journal Rhythm. Fergusson painted several striking portraits of Rice and for a time they were clearly extremely important to one another, both romantically and professionally. Although Rice and Fergusson's relationship did not last and she married the critic Raymond Drey in 1913 and began to spend much of her time in London rather than Paris, the influence of Fergusson remained strong in her work.
Tréboul is a small fishing village in the far west of Brittany, close to Douarnenez. It was frequented by French artists and by the mid twentieth century Tréboul also attracted many British artists including Rice, Anne Redpath and Christopher Wood whose work is comparable with the present picture.