Distinctive, free style
Théo Van Rysselberghe initially paints in an impressionistic style. That changes in 1886 when he sees Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte at an exhibition in Paris. This pointillist painting makes such an impression on him that he also begins painting with the pointillist technique, but with a distinctive, free style.
In July - before noon is a fine example of that. Here, Van Rysselberghe is mainly concerned with the depiction of the summery atmosphere and the bright light. The five women have no contact with each other and are all engaged in their own activity. This reinforces the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity on this summer afternoon and lends the scene a timeless character.
Van Rysselberghe began this painting in the summer of 1889. The woman in the blue dress in Maria Monnom, with whom he would marry in the autumn. That summer, the Monnom family stayed in Thuin, in southern Belgium. The garden shown here is probably the orchard of the nearby Abbey of Aulne.