Enchanted by the quality of light and exotic nature rich with fragrance and dazzling color, Monet returned to Bordighera almost immediately in January 1884, while Renoir’s next visit to the Riviera did not take place until 1888. Having stayed with Cézanne at Aix-en-Provence in in February and March of that year, Renoir based himself in Martigues near Marseille, from where he visited Bordighera and Antibes. While Monet’s depictions of Bordighera focused primarily on the lush greenery surrounding the town, in the present composition Renoir turned his attention to the sea. He evidently painted La Mer à Bordighera on a cool, cloudy day, with the sea a deep blue and green tone and the pink clouds reflected on the water surface. Furthermore, windy conditions are indicated by the slanting shapes of the three sailboats in the distance, as well as by the quick brushstrokes of white pigment suggesting waves rolling towards the shore.
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