Henri Edmond Cross

The life and work of Henri Cross took a decisive turn in 1891, the year of Georges Seurat's death, when he embraced the Neo-Impressionist movement. This was also the year he left Paris and moved to Saint-Clair, in the Var, near his friend Paul Signac. There he discovered the joys of the Mediterranean countryside, which served as an endless source of inspiration for him.

Cross initiated a second phase of Neo-Impressionism in the 1890s, replacing the Pointillist technique of small dots with larger, square-like brushstrokes that produce a greater intensity of color on the canvas. Not only did this provide the artists with the scope to develop their own expressive styles (Neo-Impressionists such as Paul Signac had become weary of the lack of individuality in Pointillist pictures), but it also placed more emphasis on the decorative qualities of the image.

Cross's use of non-local color and distorted forms produced images that are dreamlike and poetic rather than naturalistic. The rich, intense hues of his elongated brushstrokes, a technique that treats color as an entity in its own right, greatly influenced the Fauvist paintings of Henri Matisse, thus contributing to the development of twentieth-century modernist painting.