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Lewis Jean Liberté

Rock Forms and Boats

Rock Forms and Boats is a striking example of the numerous coastal scenes that Lewis Jean Liberté produced in both casein and oil paintings. His rich palette of saturated colors applied with almost violent force animates the rock forms and boats in this evocative marine composition. Strong, extended lines in an abstracted foreground frame the composition and lead the viewer into the pictorial space in oblique directions. The chaotic overlay of colors across undefined shapes adds to the dynamic effect, and rough, impasto textures throughout the image—evidence of the artist’s rapid reworking of the surface—further enhance the impression of energy.

Born in Italy in 1896, Liberté immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1900. He studied at the Cooper Union Art School, the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, and the Art Students League, where he also later taught. As his career developed, Liberté became known for the many nighttime landscapes he painted based on views of Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, and Rockport and Monhegan Island, Maine, then later at sites in Mexico and Italy.

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