Marquayrol, sous la treille, travaux de couture abandonés, c.1920
Signed lower left 'Henri Martin'
Oil on canvas
32-1/2 x 31-1/2 in, 82.6 x 80.0 cm
In 1900 Martin bought Marquayrol, a large seventeenth-century villa which overlooked the village of Labastide-du-Vert in the Lot department of South-Western France. This was the first of three houses he...
In 1900 Martin bought Marquayrol, a large seventeenth-century villa which overlooked the village of Labastide-du-Vert in the Lot department of South-Western France. This was the first of three houses he bought in the Languedoc region, where he spent the summer months away from Paris. The acquisition of Marquayrol marked a turning point for Martin, who abandoned figuration to focus on landscape painting. Captivated by the southern light, he painted the surrounding countryside, nearby villages and river. However, his most intimate and idyllic paintings are of Marquayrol itself. Martin became extremely attached to the house and with his wife cultivated a beautiful Italianate garden, which provided major inspiration for works such as this.
Within his extensive garden Martin painted a number of recurring motifs including the four pools, the terrace, pots of geraniums and the gate. As the title describes, 'Marquayrol, sous la treille, travaux de couture abandonés' depicts sewing abandoned on an empty chair. This seemingly mundane task is transformed by Martin into a celebration of the tranquillity of everyday life. The painting is also a testament to how architecture works alongside nature in his carefully designed, yet free, garden. Using his considerable skills as a draftsman, Martin often contrasted geometric architectural shapes with the organic forms of nature. The classical lines of the pillars, chair and round table below are cleverly juxtaposed with the surrounding flowers, abundant greenery and vines. Just as the chair and grass seemingly become one, the trellises are engulfed by branches, creating a harmonious space for man and nature.
It was at Marquayrol that Martin's unique style, a synthesis of Impressionism with Pointillist brushwork, reached its maturity. Like his close friends Le Sidaner and Laurent, who had also come from a Symbolist background, he used divisionist techniques to capture mood and the “diverse effects” of nature. With swift brushstrokes and diffusely painted canvases he captured the light and atmosphere of the South of France; here the patterning of sunlight and shade play on the table, chair and abandoned sewing below. Marquayrol was as important to Martin as the gardens at Giverny were to Monet. Taking nature as his new “model of beauty”, he repeatedly painted his beloved garden using different colour schemes to characterize different times of day and year until the very end of his career.
Findlay Galleries, Inc., New York (label verso)
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John R. McFarlin, San Antonio, Texas and thence by descent
Private Collection, London
This work is accompanied by a photo certificate issued by Cyrille Martin and dated 23rd January, 2014
This work is also accompanied by a photocopy of a folio comprising an essay on the artist, a certificate of authenticity from Findlay Galleries, Inc., signed and dated October 1965, as well as a black and white photocopy of the painting with a handwritten letter of authentication from Andre Schoeller, Jr. on the verso, signed, stamped and dated May 5, 1965.