Orenco Originals for the Artful Needleworker !

The Promenade by Henri Edmond Cross - Painted 1897

Henri-Edmond Cross- The French Artist Who Played a Crucial and Vital Role in the Development of Modern Painting

Vivid Cypresses at Cagne by Henri Edmond Cross - Painted 1908
"Oh! What I saw in a split second while riding my bike tonight! I just had to jot down these fleeting things ... a rapid notation in watercolor and pencil: an informal daubing of contrasting colors, tones, and hues, all packed with information to make a lovely watercolor the next day in the quiet leisure of the studio."

 Self Portrait with a Cigarette by Henri Edmond Cross Painted-1880

 Henri Edmond Cross, 1856–1910, was a leading Neo-Impressionist painter, a pioneer of Pointillism, and a founding member of the Salon des Indépendants. The French artist Henri-Edmond Cross, was actually born Henri-Edmond-Joseph Delacroix. He changed his name to Henri Cross in order to distinguish himself from the very famous Eugène Delacroix, but also from an artist called Henri-Eugène Delacroix who displayed work at the same Salons that Henri also displayed his work.  Cross change his name a second time in 1886, to Henri-Edmond Cross.

Peasant Woman Relaxing in the Grass by Henri Edmond Cross - Painted 1890

 Henri-Edmond-Joseph Delacroix was the only surviving child of a French father, Alcide Delacroix and a British mother, Fanny Woollett.  The family moved to Lille when Henri was nine years of age.  He showed an interest in drawing when he was young and his parents sent him to Carolus-Duran, the Lille painter, for private drawing and painting lessons when he was just ten years of age. He was encouraged as a youth to develop his artistic talent by his father’s widowed cousin, Dr Auguste Soins, who paid for much of Henri’s artistic training.   He spent a short time in Paris when he was nineteen, studying under the tutelage of the French realist painter, François Bonvin before returning to Lille.  In 1878 he enrolled on a three-year course at the Écoles Académiques de Dessin et d’Architecture in Lille and studied under the painter, Alphonse Colas.  Three years later he returned to Paris and studied in the atelier of Émile Dupont-Zipcy.

Man Working on a Boat by Henri Edmond Cross - Painted 1899


The year 1884, was a milestone in French art.  Up until then any artist wanting to progress in their chosen career relied completely on having their works exhibited at the Paris Salon and for that to happen they had to submit their paintings to the Salon jurists to see if they considered their works good enough to be exhibited.  The jurists were, at this time, increasingly conservative in their views of what art was acceptable and were not receptive to the works proffered by the Impressionist artists whose works had moved away from the traditional academic style.  The Impressionists would often have their paintings rejected by the Salon jurists or if they did manage to have a painting accepted it would be hung in such a way that it was almost hidden from view.  In 1863 the jurists rejected a surprisingly high percentage of paintings and this caused a furor among the “discarded” artists.

San Giorgio Maggior by Henri Edmond Cross - Painted 1903-4

The following summer a number of these disgruntled artists, such as Georges Seurat, Paul Signac,  Albert Dubois-Pillet, Odilon Redon and Henri Cross, got together and formed the Société des Artistes Indépendants (Society of Independent Artists) and based the society on the premise sans jury ni récompense, (No jury nor awards).  They held their own inaugural exhibition, Salon des Indépendants, in May 1884 and Henri Cross exhibited some of his paintings.  In 1888 he visits the Cote d’Azur for the first time and paints in Eze and Nice and it is in this year that he meets Irma Clare, the subject of today’s paintings.  In 1891 he became Vice-President of the Society.  He had by this time become one of the leading figures of the Neo-Impressionism movement.

Beach Evening Effect by Henri Edmond Cross - Painted 1902

Henri Cross’ health was poor and he suffered badly from rheumatism.  He decided to move to the warmer climes of the South of France.   He initially settled in a rented house in Cabasson, near Le Lavandou, but later went to live in Saint-Clair, a small hamlet just outside of St Tropez, where he stayed for the rest of his life.  He traveled to Italy and Tuscany and Umbria as well as trips to Paris to the annual Salon des Indépendants.  Paul Signac followed him south the next year and settled in St Tropez.  It was during this period that Cross was introduced to the revolutionary artist, Henri Matisse.  Henri Cross’ close working relationship with Paul Signac, led to him being introduced to the artistic technique, known as pointillism.  Pointillism is the methodical and scientific technique which juxtaposed small dots of pure color together to maximize luminosity. The dots appear to intermingle and blend in the observer’s eye.

Madame Hector by Henri Edmond Cross - Painted 1903-4

 Henri Edmond Cross along with fellow artists Georges Seurat, Maximilien Luce, and  aul Signac were artists whot embraced Pointillism.  Other well-known artists who briefly made works in Pointillist style were Vincent Van Gogh and, early in their careers, Picasso, Mondrian and Kandinsky.


Portrait of Henri Edmond Cross by Maximilien Luce 1898 

One of the foremost practitioners of Neo-Impressionism, Henri-Edmond Cross produced an array of work during his life, that played a pivotal role in the development of early twentieth century modernist painting. Initially drawn to naturalism and then Impressionism, he eventually adopted the Pointillist technique pioneered by his friend Georges Seurat, the leader of the Neo-Impressionists. However, the strict precepts of Pointillism did not appeal to Cross's predisposition for individual expression and, alongside Paul Signac, he began to develop a Neo-Impressionist technique that was more intensely colorful and varied in its application. The abstracted forms and dazzling colors that the artist displays in these paintings helped to pave the way for Fauvism.