The Coast of Spain at Salabrena Eugene Delacroix Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This watercolour painting was completed in 1832 and is now a part of a private collection. Delacroix produced most of his landscape artworks in this medium and felt the two went well together.

Salabrena/Salobrena is a large town based on the southern coast of Spain, somewhere near Granada and Malaga. Coastal scenes have long since interested Delacroix, and he even placed beaches and seas within the background of many of his historical paintings. He therefore would have practiced the technical requirements many times, both in oils and watercolours. In this case there is no influence from literature, just an appreciation of his natural surroundings, just as was encouraged within the Romanticist movement. Sadly, there is not much detail available on this artwork, such as others that he created whilst staying here though there may be more information within his French journals that has yet to be translated. The piece itself is signed and titled on the bottom, where as his oils would sometimes have notes on the back instead, perhaps on the stretching beams of wood.

In all, this lesser known piece still has a great relevance because of its use of colour, and Delacroix's influential role in encouraging the use of brighter tones. He also influenced the impressionists, making his landscape art of critical importance, even though most are pretty unaware of his work in this genre as compared to his more well known history paintings such as Liberty Leading the People and Death of Sardanapalus. There is always more to see and learn from famous artists' careers, besides just their highlights and Delacroix is a great example of that.

This landscape scene, with its snow-capped mountains, could almost be something from the Hudson River School, who themselves were devoted to the beauty of the North American countryside. We see so many different artists when we go through Delacroix's career, some who may have provided him with inspiration, whilst others would follow on afterwards, such as the Impressionists who are known to have studied his impressive work within the landscape genre. Some comparisons that might be of interest between this piece and some to have come from North America includes Bierstadt's Sierra Nevada, Frederic Edwin Church's Twilight in the Wilderness and also Mountain of the Holy Cross by Thomas Moran, though their own contributions to landscape art collectingly run into the many thousands of paintings.