Private collection, Massachusetts
Frank C. Penfold was the son of William Penfold, a portrait painter active in Lockport and Buffalo, New York. He trained with his father in portraiture and in 1884 studied at the Academie Julian in Paris. He eventually settled in Pont-Aven in Brittany where he taught in the artists’ colony there. He occasionally returned to the United States and remained an influential figure in the Buffalo art scene; he was an instructor at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, made president of the Buffalo Society of Artists, and helped organize the Municipal Art League in 1901.
Penfold is noted for his marine, genre, landscape, and portrait paintings and particularly for his paintings of Brittany. Our painting is a charming rendition of a girl in traditional costume, set against a picturesque Breton landscape. Our work captures the characteristics for which Penfold is best known. His early training in portraiture brings the girl's face to life. She is seen in profile as she raises her hand to shield her face from the bright sun and gazes out into the distance toward the open sea. The bright sunlight and open sky give this painting a light, airy feel. The stark contrast of the shadows and lifelike renderings of the foreground is set off against the luminous quality of the ocean and sky that infinitely extends into the distance. The meticulous qualities like the clarity, vibrant colors, and detailed rendering of the girl and her basket full of fish are skillfully integrated into the charming genre scene of a girl.