In creating these seascapes O’Conor drew inspiration from Claude Monet’s series of Belle-Île seascapes created in 1886. However, the Irishman's proto-fauve style owed its origins to Paul Gauguin’s flattening of pictorial space and his use of exotic colours in his 1889-91 renditions of the Breton coastline. O’Conor’s series continued into 1899 when he set off on his bicycle to explore the Finistère coastline, deliberately selecting motifs that held a romantic appeal on account of their remoteness, their ruggedness and their susceptibility to gales. After spending some time near the fishing port of St Guénolé, later in the summer he moved on to the island of Belle-Île. The resultant paintings, distinguished by their remarkably bold, intense colours and energetic handling of paint, constituted a creative outpouring that collectively reaffirmed O’Conor’s avant-garde credentials.
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