Lot 519
  • 519

Henri Martin

180,000 - 250,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Henri Martin
  • L'eglise de Labastide-du-Vert
  • Signed Henri Martin. (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 43 1/2 by 38 in.
  • 110.5 by 96.5 cm


Henri Bousquet, Rodez
Private Collection (by descent from the above)

Catalogue Note

In 1900 Martin bought a property in Labastide-du-Vert, a small village North of Cahors near Toulouse. On the thirty acres of land stood a large seventeenth century house and Martin became extremely attached to this property. The acquisition of Marquayrol marked a turning point in Martin's career—he abandoned allegory and myth to fully devote himself to representing nature.

As Martin once said, "My preoccupation with rendering atmospheric effects increased later, after three months in the country, face to face with nature. Trying to capture its diverse effects, I was compelled to paint it differently. The natural light, now brilliant, then diffuse, which softened the contours of figures and landscape, powerfully obliged me to translate it any way I could, but other than using a loaded brush, through pointille and the breaking up of tone" (quoted in Henri Martin (exhibition catalogue), Musée Henri Martin, Cahors, 1992, p. 89).

Martin's canvases from this period are characteristically joyous expressions of light, color and texture. Jacques Martin-Ferrières, the artist's son, writes, "Henri Martin was without contest an Impressionist and one who had the deepest sensitiveness, certainly equal to that of Monet, whom he most admired. Their interpretation of nature is certainly, owing to their utmost sensitiveness and not through research of a technical process, a poetical evocation hued by a thousand colors which can undoubtedly be called a work of art" (Jacques Martin-Ferrières, Henri Martin, Paris, 1967, p. 35).

Ferrières continues, "If I look at a fragment of Henri Martin's canvas... I immediately recognize it. I see a great number of dots of different colors, as precious and rare as precious stones.  His palette is an enchantment. Many different interminglings of colors make a rare and rich harmony... And it is much more difficult to find a good harmony of colors when representing nature than to assemble some nice colors, representing nothing. In here lies the gift of Impressionists and that is why there are so few" (ibid., p. 42).