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50 Favorites
Giovanni Boldini
Italian, 1842–1931
The Return of the Fishing Boats, Étretat
1879
Oil on panel
Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1929
1955.647

  Safely ashore, Boldini's catch is in:
anchor planted among the clatter of the rocks,
the villagers crowd around, lost to the din
of fishwife and monger arguing the cost
of the day's live haul—conger teeming in vats
we cannot see, but sense, perhaps imagine,
subject as we are to this Étretat
composed of canvas, pigment, oil and resin
awash with sea brine, mottled light that swells
with the gull's far cry and an ocean's smell.


Peter Filkins
Writer and Poet
Cheshire, Massachusetts



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