Arthur Melville

The Sapphire Sea

About this artwork

Melville first visited the Spanish port of Pasajes, on the Atlantic coast near San Sebastián, in 1892. The steep-sided bay, surrounded by fishing boats and red-roofed houses, inspired some of his most radical paintings. Here he uses a dramatic vertical composition to contrast the intense blue sea and the dazzling white buildings. Melville was closely associated with the group of artists known as the Glasgow Boys. A highly original watercolourist, he painted in ‘blots and spots’ and used specially prepared paper to evoke brilliant colour and light.

Updated before 2020

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Arthur Melville

Arthur Melville

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