On 3 December 1887 Clausen listed five 'pochades' at £10 and £5 in his account book. The two smallest were seascapes, described as Sea (light blue) and Sea Deep Blue. It is likely that the present picture is the second of these.
That autumn the Clausens went on holiday to Saltfleetby on the north Lincolnshire coast, and immediately following this, the painter travelled to Dannes and Etaples in northern France to visit the artists' colony there. His two oil-on-panel sketches of the sea are likely to have been painted at either of these locations. The depth of blue in the present picture suggests that it may have been observed on the French coast, looking west, rather than on the English coast, where other Saltfleetby panels indicate grey days.
Although Sea (light blue) has not been traced, these two small seascapes are unique in the Clausen oeuvre and no other oil paintings of the sea have been traced. They may contain an echo of the tiny Whistler 'pochades' which Clausen could have seen at Dowdeswell's gallery in 1884 in a show entitled Notes - Harmonies - Nocturnes. This too contained a number of seascapes often referred to as 'colour notes'.
We are grateful to Kenneth McConkey for preparing this catalogue entry.