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The exhibition presents eleven original lithographs as well as several watercolours, very rarely exhibited, revealing Rivière's creative process. All are devoted to Brittany.


Every year, from 1885 to 1916, Rivière, born in Paris in 1864, surveyed the Brittany coast from May to October, residing in Saint-Briac then Tréboul, Morgat and Loguivy, near Paimpol, where he had a house built. Carrying his watercolour equipment, he sketches the landscapes with great precision, before finalising the compositions of his prints in his studio in Paris, during the winter months.  


Between 1890 and 1894, he devoted a series of forty woodcuts to the region, entitled Paysages bretons, the largest of which, composed of five plates, represents Le Pardon de Sainte-Anne-La-Palud (1892-1893). From 1897, he devoted four series of lithographs to Brittany: Les Aspects de la nature (sixteen plates, 1897-1898), Le Beau pays de Bretagne (twenty plates, 1898-1917), La Féérie des heures (sixteen plates , 1901-1902) and Au vent de noroît (four plates, 1906). All his lithographs were printed with great care in twelve or fourteen successive passes of colours at the printer Eugène Verneau.  


In his prints, Rivière embraces the principles of Japanese engravings by Hokusai and Hiroshige, adapting them to the landscape of Brittany. The drawing is simplified, the human figures are underlined with a black line, without modelling. A great follower of Japonism, Rivière borrows from the art of ukiyo-e the atmospheric effects in gradient, the off-center points of view, the asymmetrical framing cutting the subject (as in Night at sea) or the plunging views (in Bateaux au anchorage at Tréboul). Rivière also practiced photography and one should not underestimate the influence of this modern art par excellence on his engraver's eye when he chooses the framing of his prints.


In Brittany, considered at the end of the 19th century as a land that was still wild and preserved from industrialisation, Rivière was interested in the link between sea and land, in atmospheric effects and in the manual work of men and women, always in harmony with nature. He shows the life of peasants as sailors, without picturesque, which makes him one of the best observers of Brittany.



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Saturday June 19, 2021 at 5 p.m.
​Hôtel de la Palge

The conference will unveil Rivière's technique for creating his colour lithographs, supported by the decomposition of the different stages of printing a lithograph - a  look back to the artist's creative process. 

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