- LE 14 JUILLET AU HAVRE
- signed Marquet (lower right)
- oil on canvas
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owners in 1914
Paris, Galerie Max Kaganovitch, OEuvres choisies du XXème siècle, 1962, no. 40 (as dating from 1905)
Marquet's jubilant oil of the Bastille Day celebration belongs to a well-known series completed during the artist's Fauve period. Depictions of this patriotic holiday featured in the works of several artists, including Claude Monet and Edouard Manet, but it was arguably the Fauves who best captured the exuberance of the day's commemorative festivities. The vibrant, tri-band colours of the French flag, the street parades and the festive atmosphere were the perfect subjects for these 'wild beast' painters. Both Marquet and his colleague Raoul Dufy recognised the expressive potential of capturing this public celebration on canvas, and capitalised on their ground-breaking style of painting to rendering this event.
For Marquet's depictions of Le Quatorze Juillet, the setting is Le Havre, the seaside town and popular tourist destination on the Normandy coast. It was there during the summer of 1906 that he and Dufy painted several works devoted to this subject from a window overlooking the street. For the present picture, Marquet uses bold colors and sharp, black outlining to highlight the most salient aspects of the composition, but renders the extraneous background details in more muted tones. Despite the lack of people on the boulevard, the energy of the day is unmistakable, thanks to Marquet's innovative use of brushwork. Both the flags and the window recesses are executed with hasty dabs of colour, as if the entire street were being rustled by a breeze.