David James' 1894 canvas Breaking Waves has an ethereal and unearthly glow that has captivated populist audiences for over a century. James' image has become the archetypal accompaniment to books on spiritualism, serenity, or self-help. The paradoxical appeal of the might of the waves counterposed against the blissful and epiphanic joy of the colour-scale has ensured the enduring appeal of this stirring reproduction. A popular marine artist in Victorian London, there is unfortunately little known about the artist other than the works he left behind. Startlingly prolific, James began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in the mid-1880s. Like many other artists of his day, James worked to a niche. His dizzying reproductions of the view of the sea as seen from the shoreline places him in accordance with his more famous contemporary Henry Moore. Perhaps the reason James did not manage to break into the upper echelons of late-nineteenth century painting was that he appeared stubbornly set on studying only the sea and its effects, rather than the coastal seascapes that had become popular with the arrival of Impressionism.
Indeed, there are very few painters who have specialized in so specific a natural phenomenon and rendered it in such glory and tumult. Breaking Waves has a visionary, almost spiritual and revelatory quality to it. It is a fine achievement of balance, centrifugal force, and pure natural power. James' preferred location, where one can assume most of his studies were enacted, was the Cornish coast line and the Scilly Isles. Yet, he travelled all around the British coast to seek out his favoured subjects, painting views for the tourist market who were attracted to his elemental, bare, stripped down and decorative approach. Always returning to his beloved Cornish coast, David James was a marine painter whose experiential relationship with the crashing waves is a marvel to behold.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Breaking Waves I, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Breaking Waves I that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.