Collioure, le port de séchage

by Henri Martin



“In a bend of the coastline, at the outlet of a valley, scattered around the forts, gardens and coves in a picturesque manner…here is the pleasant town of Collioure. The prospect is charming” (V.E. Ardouin-Dumazet quoted in J.D. Herbert, Fauve Painting, The Making of Cultural Politics, New Haven, 1992, p. 92).

Once a significant military base during the Roman Empire and Middle Ages, the peaceful fishing village of Collioure is better known as the birthplace of Fauvism. This modest commune served as a great meeting place for the likes of Matisse, Signac and Derain who were able to live inexpensively and take advantage of the colourful environment that enveloped them.

It was in this ideal location in the foothills of the Pyrenees that Henri Martin decided to settle in 1923, after having almost exhausted his surroundings at Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and Marquayrol. During the renovation of his new Collioure home, Martin rented a port-side studio with a view of the shoreline as seen in the present work.

It was from this studio that Martin was able to capture the rich landscape before him. The bustling activity of the fishermen in the foreground is separated from the cool, rolling hills of the Pyreness by the Église Notre-Dame-des-Anges and village homes cast in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 32.0 x 41.0 in./81.4 x 104.2 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed lower right
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 5601 Categories: ,

“Henri Martin will always retain the mysterious poetry of attitudes, the secret and diffuse atmosphere of landscape and a certain spiritualization of forms bathed in the serenity of traditional figures, of allegory. His profound nature leads him to a peaceful expression of an ideal world with a coarse pointillism.”Wikipedia, citing Jean-Jacques Lévêque

Private collection, France (acquired in the 1990s)

The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Cyrille Martin.

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Henri Jean Guillaume Martin was a French painter known for his Neo-Impressionist paintings. Born on August 5, 1860 in Toulouse, France, Martin began his painting career in 1877 at the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Toulouse. He studied formally under Jules Garipuy as well as with Henry-Eugéne Delacroix. After receiving a scholarship, Martin moved to Paris in 1879 to study in the studio of Jean-Paul Laurens. He was awarded his first medal at the Paris Salon in 1883, where he would hold his first exhibition three years later at the age of 26.

Martin was awarded another scholarship, which then brought him to Italy. This was an intense period of study for Martin, who was greatly inspired by the beauty in the landscape and architecture around him. He closely examined the work of the Italian artist and architect Giotto and the painter Masaccio. In 1889, Martin won the gold medal at the Salon for his painting that has been described as Pointillist. That same year he became a member of the Legion of Honour and the following year, Martin was awarded the Grand Prize for his work at the World Fair. During this period in his career, Martin also became good friends with the sculptor Auguste Rodin. He produced paintings for the Neo-Impressionists in an unusually large scale, which won him great acclaim when he exhibited them at a solo exhibition at the Mancini Gallery in 1895. His reputation became widely known and the rather shy, introverted painter found himself with more commission requests than he wanted to accept. He did however paint murals for the city hall in Paris in 1895, and for the Capitol in Toulouse in 1903-1906.

Martin eventually left Paris to live in a mansion he purchased overlooking the Labastide-du-Vert in France. The secluded location allowed him to relax, flourish and produce some of his best work-painting the environment around the property-canvases that were renowned for their colour and light. Martin remained there until his death on November 12, 1943.


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