A remarkably prolific artist, painting more than eight hundred canvases, and producing more than eight hundred drawings, watercolor sketches and etchings, Henri Moret's life work is characterized by the period in which he studied and painted professionally. Introduced to academic painting early in his studies, Moret would eventually come under the influences of the Pont Aven school, Impressionism, the work of his close friend Gauguin, and finally create a singular style all of his own. His work is typified by a transition from figure subjects and marine paintings to an eventual fascination with the landscape and nature.
His career involved very little formal training, until his military career began in 1875. His commanding officer took note of the young man's artistic abilities and introduced him to a local drawing instructor, Ernest Corroller. His first professor was also a marine painter and introduced Moret to this initial subject, and to the classic style of painting which relied on a subdued palette. Corroller also took all of his students in to the countryside, where they developed the habit of painting and sketching "en plein air".
His self-confidence assured, Moret entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1876, and studied under Jean Paul Laurens. He exhibited in his first Salon in 1880, and was soon known as a painter who worked in the style of the Barbizon school, capturing nature and scenic atmosphere realistically.
Throughout his Paris years Moret would frequently return to Brittany, especially Pouldu and Pont Aven and send work to the Salons. By 1888 he was firmly settled into the art community of Pont Aven. His work had all ready been focused on marine and coastal scenes, and he also began to do figure paintings during this period as well, some displaying elements of the emerging Symbolist movement.
By 1895 Moret had met and contracted with notable gallery owner Durand-Ruel who commissioned six hundred paintings, to be sold through exhibitions and galleries. Demand for Moret's works was high and the numerous canvases were quickly sold to buyers around the world.
By 1900 Moret's work began to show strong Impressionist influence, with a greatly altered method than his earlier brush work, a heavy reliance on the affects of light and an elimination of figural subjects.
He remained an active and popular painter until the time of his death in 1913. The large collection of his drawings, watercolors and charcoal sketches were not discovered until 1983, when his nephew and heir finally made them available to the public.