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Set within the Maritime Alps, this bold landscape offers a scintillating insight into the early career of Jessica Dismorr, a notable yet largely overlooked British avant-garde painter.

Travelling in the footsteps of the great French modernists who had roamed the coasts from Montpellier to Nice, Dismorr sourced valuable inspiration in the southern French landscape. She had begun her artistic training in London at the Slade, which was the only art school of the period that permitted women to study from life models. However, she longed to travel and furthered her training in France, where she studied in Étaples, at the art school run by Max Bohm, and later at the Academie de la Palette in Paris. At la Palette, Dismorr studied under the Scottish colourist John Duncan Fergusson whose fauvist sympathies influenced Dismorr significantly during her early career. Equally formative in the development of her style was Fergusson’s wife, Anne Estelle Rice, who had begun painting shortly before Dismorr...

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Set within the Maritime Alps, this bold landscape offers a scintillating insight into the early career of Jessica Dismorr, a notable yet largely overlooked British avant-garde painter.

Travelling in the footsteps of the great French modernists who had roamed the coasts from Montpellier to Nice, Dismorr sourced valuable inspiration in the southern French landscape. She had begun her artistic training in London at the Slade, which was the only art school of the period that permitted women to study from life models. However, she longed to travel and furthered her training in France, where she studied in Étaples, at the art school run by Max Bohm, and later at the Academie de la Palette in Paris. At la Palette, Dismorr studied under the Scottish colourist John Duncan Fergusson whose fauvist sympathies influenced Dismorr significantly during her early career. Equally formative in the development of her style was Fergusson’s wife, Anne Estelle Rice, who had begun painting shortly before Dismorr enrolled at la Palette. During this period, all three artists embraced fauvist theories on colour, as evidenced in the present landscape.

The present painting belongs to a body of work painted around the date that Dismorr joined the artistic movement Rhythm, which was largely pioneered by Fergusson and championed the bright energetic colours of the Fauve painters. This would be the first of many movements which Dismorr joined (most notably the Vorticist movement in 1914). This painting was undertaken in either 1910 or 1911 when Dismorr was travelling around southern France with the American artist Thompson (later Zorach), with whom she shared a studio in Paris. The works produced by Dismorr on these two painting expeditions are characterised by their modest scale - no doubt for reasons of portability - and their direct, expressive use of colour with minimal underdrawing. They represent a significant part of her early oeuvre and are a pertinent reminder of Dismorr’s original talent which until recently had been largely overlooked.

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500 Years of British Art