Close ups

Henri-Edmond CROSS
French 1856–1910
Mediterranean shores 1895
(Bords méditerranéens)
oil on canvas
65.0 x 92.0 cm
Collection of Lenora and Walter F Brown, San Antonio, Texas
Photo: Steven Tucker

In the mid 1890s Henri-Edmond Cross wrote to Paul Signac: 'Until now, the pictures dealing with the theme of anarchy have always depicted revolt either directly or indirectly, through scenes of poignant misery. Let us imagine instead the dreamed-of age of happiness and well-being and let us show the actions of men, their play and their work in this era of general harmony'. Paintings such as Cross's Mediterranean shores, depicting women relaxing and men contentedly working in a lush, warm seaside setting, perfectly embody Élisée Reclus's vision of Mediterranean France as an anarchist paradise of self-sufficient communities.