Labastide-du-Vert, 1916

by Henri Martin

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 27.5 x 39 ins

SIGNATURE: Signed lower left

MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 3049 Categories: ,


In 1900 Martin’s career moved into the phase for which he is now justly renowned. He purchased ‘Marquayrol’ in Labastide-du-Vert in Lot where he lived and painted for the rest of his long life. Marquayrol, an old farmhouse with a beautiful garden and extensive views provided much of his subject matter over the years to come.

It is one of these views that Martin has depicted in this work. The idyllic and picturesque nature of this painting conveys Martin’s clear adoration of the area. The grass and trees are dappled in warm greens and yellows, with the spotting of sunlight through the trees emphasised by his brushwork. The individualised dabs of paint are a clear hommage to the neo-impressionist technique of pointilism, a style in which Martin was not only renowned for, but also won a gold award at the 1889 Salon for.



Claude Boisgirard Auction, France, 1998
Private Collection, Washington, United States, 1998;
Private Collection, California, USA, 2004;
Private Collection, United Kingdom

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Henri-Jean Guillaume Martin was born in Toulouse, France in 1860. He studied art formally under Jules Garipuy at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse and while there he also studied with Eugene Delacroix. In 1879 Martin moved to Paris and worked in the studio of Jean-Paul Laurens. He received his first medal at the Paris Salon in 1883 at the age of 23 and went on to hold his first exhibition there three years later.
In the early years of his career Martin was awarded a scholarship which took him to Italy, where Martin discovered the beauty of colour and light, both in nature and in the works of the great masters, such as Giotto and Masaccio. Inspired by what he saw he abandoned the academic style of his earlier works and adopted a style that utilised radically short brush strokes and divided the picture into a mass of small and visible strokes. In many ways this technique was reminiscent of the works of Georges Seurat.
Back in Paris, Martin received the gold medal at the Salon in 1889 and became a member of the Legion of Honour. He painted some unusually large pictures for the Neo-lmpressionists and won great acclaim when he exhibited them at a one-man show at the Mancini Gallery in 1895. Furthermore, he won the Grand Prize at the World Fair in 1900. As the prestige and popularity of Henri Martin grew, he was commissioned to paint some important murals for the city hall in Paris in 1895, and for the Capitol in Toulouse in 1903-1906. During this busy period in his career, Martin also became good friends with the sculptor Auguste Rodin.
Though a well-established and commended artist, Martin remained shy and introvert throughout his life, even refusing contracts from many successful Parisian dealers. By the turn of the century he found that he no longer enjoyed living in Paris and began searching for an ideal home elsewhere. It was then that Martin bought his mansion overlooking Labastide-du-Vert. In this relaxed and tranquil setting Martin began painting the countryside around his home almost exclusively and found a style and technique with which he was comfortable. The colourful and light filled canvases he produced at Labastide-du-Vert are widely considered to be amongst his most successful works. Henri Martin’s painting changed very little from this time onwards and he continued to paint the environs around his home until his death in 1943.

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