San Francisco Seascape

Rinaldo Cuneo
San Francisco Seascape
Oil on canvas, c. 1928
24 x 29 inches
Partial gift of Peter Benedek and partial museum purchase with funds provided through prior gift of Lois Outerbridge

Rinaldo Cuneo’s early works, utilizing a pastel palette and broken brushwork, reflect the stylistic influence of the French impressionists. However, with the advent of modernism, Cuneo assimilated new ideas and techniques. Here Cuneo has eschewed the broken brushwork of impressionism for a broadly applied stroke. He has simplified the forms and conveyed a dramatic scene in rich earth tones, with strong contrasts of dark and light. Commenting on landscape painting, Cuneo stated, “a landscape should embrace volume, simplicity, unity, a good sense of color values, rhythm of line, and above all, light.” Depicted is mile-long Baker Beach, which lies on the shore of the Pacific, northwest of the city just below the Presidio. Visible at right is a fortified gun installation, called Battery Chamberlin, built in 1904. (If painted today, the work would include a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.) The mood is somber; the beach nearly desolate. Perhaps it is a chilly day in late autumn. Only three figures are seen—one, a solitary man, appears to be asleep.