Connect with us – Art History Stories

Painting of the Week: Edward Henry Potthast, Ocean Breezes

Ocean Breezes (detail) by Edward Henry Potthast
Edward Henry Potthast, Ocean Breezes, c. 1910. Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, Connecticut, USA. Detail. Photo via

Painting of the Week

Painting of the Week: Edward Henry Potthast, Ocean Breezes

This week’s Painting of the Week is Ocean Breezes by Edward Henry Potthast. It’s a wonderfully vivid work, showing two girls and their mother caught up in the breeze at the beach.

Ocean Breezes by Edward Henry Potthast
Edward Henry Potthast, Ocean Breezes, c. 1910. Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, Connecticut, USA. Photo via

Standing in front of it, I could almost feel the strong ocean breeze, since Potthast’s vigorous brushstrokes embody it so well in the three figures’ wavy shapes. I also imagined that I could hear the smaller girl crying “Mommy, I’m cold!”. Her body language is one of the most vivid and interesting parts of the painting.

Edward Henry Potthast (1857-1927) was an American Impressionist. He must have really loved the beach, since he painted dozens and dozens of seaside scenes. Some of them are traditional seascapes, strongly focused on the water itself, but most aren’t. Instead, Potthast’s works are usually full of people enjoying the beach. They show crowds of figures, including many children, who are wading, swimming, playing, or resting under colorful umbrellas. Potthast’s seaside locales are bright and cheerful, full of eye-catching colors. Some include sailboats’ elegant silhouettes. Potthast’s seaside paintings evoke a high-summer day at the beach, perhaps recalling viewers’ childhood memories. His beach-goers often appear from the back or side, their faces turned out of sight. Instead of being alienating, as it might sound, this simply makes a viewer feel that she’s approaching the action, maybe to enjoy the beach herself.

A Sailing Party by Edward Henry Potthast
Edward Henry Potthast, A Sailing Party, c. 1924. Cincinnati Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Photo via

Although Potthast’s works are full of people, the artist was very shy and liked to keep to himself. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and started his career in commercial lithography. He visited Europe twice, first studying in Munich, Germany and later in France. On this second trip to France, he became interested in both Barbizon landscape painting and French Impressionism. Starting in the 1890s, he painted as an Impressionist. He moved to New York City in 1895 and stayed there for the rest of his life. He loved to paint people enjoying Central Park and Coney Island, but he also liked to spend his summers painting New England beach destinations like Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Ogunquit, Maine.

Ocean Breezes by Edward Henry Potthast is on display at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, CT, where it is part of the American Perspectives ongoing exhibition.

– “Edward Henry Potthast (1857-1927)”. New York: Hollis Taggart Galleries (Accessed via
– Orlando Museum of Art. “Edward Henry Potthast, American Impressionist: Selections from the Gross Family Collection”. Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., 2011.
– Pilgrim, Dianne K. American Impressionist and Realist Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. p. 113-5. (Accessed online).

To find out more about the American Impressionists, why not learn about Florence Griswold, who was their so-called “patron saint”?

Alexandra believes that enjoying the art of the past is the closest she can get to time travel, only much safer. When she’s not being an art historian, she can usually be found ice skating and dancing. Visit her at


More in Painting of the Week

  • 19th Century

    When the Arts Meet: Art Inspired Album Covers


    If music is the soul of an album then the art on the cover must be its body. The choice of artwork for an album cover is an important one because at a glance it conveys the style and atmosphere of the music. Usually musicians commission...

  • cover cover

    19th Century

    Negligee Fashion: Top 5 Gorgeous Homewear Outfits in Art


    Due to quarantine, homewear fashion is popular once again. But don’t think that boudoir fashion was unpopular before this. As art shows, from the second part of the mid 18th century, negligee fashion becomes mainstream! Because dressing up took plenty of time and visitors could arrive...

  • 19th Century

    Edgar Degas and New Orleans’ Paintings


    Just about everyone has heard of “the painter of dancers,” Edgar Degas. However, the paintings Degas created in modern America’s favorite party capital, New Orleans, are commonly overlooked. In his five months abroad, Degas captured endearing portraits of his Creole family as well as scenes of...

  • Berthe Morisot, Cottage Interior Berthe Morisot, Cottage Interior

    19th Century

    The Art of Domesticity: Art Inspired by the Home


    In times where we must spend more time at home than usual, we journey through art inspired by domestic life over the centuries. As the lockdown lifestyle continues to prevail for many of us, it is easy to feel frustrated, bored, and entrapped by our homes....

  • 19th Century

    Roman Holidays: Italian Landscapes Through the Eyes of Russian Artists


    It is well known that Italy is a motherland of world masterpieces. Renaissance paintings, baroque architecture and Italian opera are the children of Italy. From the first decades of the 18th-century, the Russian emperor, Peter the Great, sent young artists to Italy for educational purposes. At...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy