- PONT SAINT-MICHEL
- Signed marquet (lower right)
- Oil on canvas
- 20 1/4 by 24 1/4 in.
- 51.5 by 61.6 cm
Knoedler & Co., New York
In Pont Saint-Michel, Marquet focuses on the urban landscape of Paris. The artist was increasingly interested in urban views from elevated viewpoints and produced many landscapes in the first decades of the 20th century that depicted the streets and landmarks of Paris from a higher and more inclusive vantage point. Marquet had moved to Paris before the turn of the century upon his mother's initiative and promptly began his artistic dialogue with the inspirational city. Similar to Pissarro's contemporaneous methods, Marquet would often choose an apartment based on the vantage points it afforded him and spend long hours painting at the window (see fig. 1). Many of these paintings demonstrate a well-tuned ability to capture the essence of a Parisian street with ostensibly simple brushstrokes. In the present work, Marquet frames his composition around the notable view of the Quai des Grands-Augustins, with the spires of Notre Dame glimpsed in the background.
Undoubtedly inspired by the influential work of the Impressionists, Marquet executed multiple studies of specific views of Paris under different conditions of weather. Of particular interest to these artists was the effect of snowfall on both rural and urban landscapes, the remnants of which can be seen in the present work. In contrast to his contemporaries however, Marquet's approach was characterized by the creation of unmodulated patches of color that revealed a modern sensibility. As David Setford writes, "... whereas the Impressionists sought to understand the visual subtleties of atmosphere through the juxtaposition of small dabs of paint, Marquet translated light, water and land into much more solid tonal effects. For just these reasons, Marquet's is an art that from his early years seems somehow more timeless and permanent than that of his contemporaries" (David F. Setford, From Fauvism to Impressionism: Albert Marquet (exhibition catalogue), New York, 2001, p. 6).
Fig. 1 The artist on his balcony overlooking the present view of Paris