[Untitled (Ocean View from Carmel)]
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Gift of Madeleine Sugimoto and Naomi Tagawa, Japanese American National Museum
Stretched and framed.
A view from Carmel California of the Pacific shoreline includes large rocky cliffs to the right and rough ocean water breaking on rocks in the shallows at bottom. A ship appears on the distant horizon, left, where ocean meets a cloudy, brown-toned marine sky.
Signed in medium, bottom left corner: Henry Sugimoto
Sugimoto's interest in the Pacific Ocean peaks in this seascape painted six years after his return from France. In the painting, Sugimoto uses rough brushstrokes and heavy application of paint characteristic of his early painting to capture the motion of the waves breaking on the craggy rocks of the Carmel coastline. A distant seacliff and the ship on the far horizon capture the immensity of the Pacific while the surging waves in the foreground underscore the ocean's power. Like other landscapes from his early period, "Ocean from Carmel" reflects Sugimoto's fascination with the contrast of colors in nature. In the painting, the brown, earthy rocks stand solid and timeless while the blue-green water swirls about them. The light captures only the surface colors of the waves, while the marine sky reflects the golden tones of the sun behind it. The natural colors of early paintings such as "Ocean from Carmel" give way to a brighter, higher-contrast palette in Sugimoto's later works. Sugimoto's many sketchbooks demonstrate that he often drew portions of his scenes and landscapes outdoors; until the end of his life he painted or drew almost every day. In "Ocean from Carmel," Sugimoto's vivid depiction of the waves and rocks along the Carmel seashore suggest that he spent a great deal of time looking at the scene before commencing to paint. This technique associated with Post-Impressionist painting is one Sugimoto likely took up in France and subsequently employed throughout his career.
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