HENRI MARTIN (1860-1943) L'église de Labastide du Vert
Lot 2
HENRI MARTIN
(1860-1943)
L'église de Labastide du Vert
Sold for £ 131,250 (US$ 171,033) inc. premium

Lot Details
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE UK COLLECTION
HENRI MARTIN (1860-1943)
L'église de Labastide du Vert
signed 'Henri Martin.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
107.7 x 79cm (42 3/8 x 31 1/8in).

Footnotes

  • The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Madame Marie-Anne Destrebecq-Martin. This work will be included in the forthcoming Henri Martin catalogue raisonné, currently being prepared.

    Provenance
    Private collection, Dublin (acquired in London circa 1920s - 1930s).
    Thence by descent to the present owners.

    Exhibited
    Dublin, Friends of the National Collections of Ireland, Modern Continental Paintings, August 1944, no. 90 (titled 'Le village de St. Denis').

    Literature
    'French Painters' Work Exhibited', in Times Pictorial: The Weekly Irish Times, 12 August 1944 (illustrated; titled 'Le village de St. Denis').

    Capturing the church and neighbouring bridge over the river Vert, the present work was painted in Labastide-du-Vert, a small village which was to provide the inspiration for many of Henri Martin's most notable compositions. The artist's purchase in 1900 of the large 17th century farmhouse of Marquayrol, perched above the valley, ushered in a change in his painting style and focus to date. Retreating from busy Parisian life each summer, Martin quickly moved away from his earlier classical influences and mythological scenes, seeking instead to capture the ever-shifting light and colours of the countryside:

    'My preoccupation with rendering atmospheric effects increased...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 pointillé and the breaking up of tone' (Henri Martin quoted in Eden Close at Hand: The Paintings of Henri Martin, exh. cat., Beverly Hills, 2005, p. 26).

    The Post-Impressionist Pointillist style with which we most associate Martin was inspired by his new surroundings. In L'église de Labastide du Vert bold strokes of thickly applied pure pigment jostle for space, creating a dense, shimmering surface which glows and resonates with the light of Southern France. The expressive paint surface animates the architectural view which yet retains its classical structure and integrity, perhaps looking back to the artist's tour of Italy as a student. The joyous lemon hues, mints and fern greens which capture the lush summer foliage are characteristic of the artist's vibrant palette, as admired by his son Jacques Martin-Ferrières: 'If I look at a fragment of Henri Martin's canvas... I immediately recognise it... [his] palette is an enchantment' (J. Martin-Ferrières, Henri Martin, Paris, 1967, p. 42).
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