Cross is the less known of the three artists who launched and defined Neo-impressionnism. We know works by Seurat and Signac, less so for Cross. One of the reasons, according to the curator of the exhibition, was that Cross chose to live in the South of France, far from Paris salons, exhibitions, galleries and collectors.
The exhibition presented 34 works that Cross painted from 1891 until he died in 1910 and some beautiful watercolours.
La Ferme, matin, Oil on canvas, Musée des beaux-arts de Nancy (Source : Wikimedia)
La baie à Cavalière - Oil on canvas (Source: Wikimedia)
Cross sometimes resorted to painting lines. This was a departure from the pure Neo-impresionnist precepts, but it was the only way to convey the form and expression of goats (that he painted many times) or people in his paintings. The way he seems to have done it was to “draw” the form first with a dark colour and then fill it in with the marks of pure colour. A close examination of the canvas let you see the lines behind and between the coloured marks.
Les Iles d'Or (Source: Wikimedia)
The painting Les Iles d'Or (the golden Islands) is very simple yet very modern.
“Since a few days, I rest from my canvasses by trying watercolour and sketching with this medium. It is fun. The absolute necessity of being fast, bold and even insolent, brings into work a kind of benevolent fever after months of languor spent on paintings whose first idea was unconsidered.” (Letter from Cross to Angrand – March 1900 – Archives Angrand)
Lavender - Watercolour (Source: Wikimedia)