Rice painted a striking series of views of harbours and beaches on the coast of Brittany in the late 1920s and 1930s. She favoured views of fishing boats moored within sheltered harbours at Douarnenez, Concarneau and Tréboul where she found subjects that could be painted from the quayside. Several of Rice's pictures painted in Brittany were exhibited to high acclaim at the Fosse Gallery in 1986, including a wonderful painting entitled Tréboul Harbour, Brittany (sold Sotheby's, Gleneagles Hotel, 30 August 2006) which provides an interesting comparison to the present work, Douarnenez, Brittany. The picturesque harbours and villages of Brittany had lured artists since the nineteenth century but in the twentieth century, when transport links were improved, many artists from Paris and London travelled to Brittany for inspiration. A colony of artists was established around this area of Brittany, the most well known perhaps being Christopher Wood who painted at Tréboul between 1928-30. In 1928 Wood and his close friend Ben Nicholson discovered Alfred Wallis, whose primitive style had a profound influence on both artists. Anne Estelle Rice's pictures were in turn influenced by Christopher Wood who, by the time he reached Tréboul had adopted a limited, earthy colour range, working on board and often using such materials as Ripolin house paints and primers. Rice was interested in the way in which Wood used a palette knife to apply and scrape the paint away from the surface to reveal the texture of the panel beneath. Woods' mature work is typified by such works as Boat Builders, Tréboul (1930) which is held in Kettle's Yard, Cambridge and provides a key point of reference to the works that Anne Estelle Rice was painting during the same period.
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