No. 14 from the series Le Beau Pays de Bretagne (The Beautiful Countryside of Brittany), 1898–1917
Henri Rivière is perhaps best known for his association with the Chat Noir, the famous cabaret opened in the Montmartre district of Paris by Rodolphe Salis in 1881. While still a teenager, Rivière edited and contributed to the Chat Noir’s weekly journal, and in 1886 he introduced a form of shadow theater—what he called Ombres chinoises, or Chinese Shadows—that remained immensely popular until the nightclub’s closing in 1897.
Rivière was also a printmaker. Inspired, as were so many of his colleagues during the latter decades of the nineteenth century, by the strong outlines and broad unmodulated areas of color discovered in Japanese woodblock prints, he produced nearly a dozen sets of brilliantly colored woodcuts and lithographs depicting the French landscape. The sheet presented here, featuring a view of the coastal town of Douarnenez, belongs to a series of twenty lithographs executed between 1898 and 1917—one per year—that capture the artist’s deep appreciation of the Brittany region. After completing the series, Rivière retired as a professional artist, at the age of 52.