Wednesday 28 December 2022

Vallotton at Etretat

 Born on this day in 1865 was the brilliant Swiss-French painter and printmaker Felix Vallotton, about whom I wrote at some length a while back, after seeing the eye-opening exhibition of his works at the Royal Academy. Above is a beautifully composed seaside view by Vallotton, painted at Etretat, where he also painted this simple beach scene, equally beautifully composed, of arrangements of colour rather than line. It put me in mind of a poem –

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be–
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

Robert Frost


  1. The other day I was sitting at Bathers Beach, Fremantle, Western Australia, looking at the sea. Nearby a woman was berating her family for doing the same. "There are tourist attractions", she stormed, "I didn't come this far just to look at the sea." Her family took no notice and she stomped off to the Maritime Museum. Admittedly, I've already been to the Maritime Museum, but even if I hadn't I think looking at the sea was the better choice.

    1. Absolutely, Zoe. Always the better choice.

  2. Please, write something about Pelé

    1. Would that I could, Ricardo, but I'm afraid I know nothing about football and would have nothing to say that was worth saying.

    2. I thought you should know. Well, Happy New year!

    3. And feliz ano novo to you, Ricardo!