Monsieur Cyrille Martin has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Henri Martin originally came from the southern French city of Toulouse, where he had won the Grand Prix Municipal at the city's Ecole des Beaux-Arts. This enabled him to study in Paris, where he subsequently settled. However, in 1900 Martin purchased Marquayrol, a large seventeenth-century house built on a hill overlooking the picturesque village of Labastide-du-Vert in Lot, south-western France. Marquayrol became Martin's retreat from Paris and it was there that he would spend the months between May and November, revelling in the southern light that he had so missed, and it is here that he painted La pergola Marquayrol.
Martin cultivated an extensive Italianate garden at Marquayrol, replete with cypress lined paths, a circular pool with a statue, and a terrace with a pergola, seen here, whose vines formed a canopy that offered shade and shelter from the summer sun. Martin's idyllic garden, as well as the house itself and the nearby village, provided him with a formidable source of inspiration and remained his main connection with nature and light for more than forty years. It was also at Marquayrol that Martin's unique style, a synthesis of a broadly Impressionist approach combined with Pointillist brushwork, reached its maturity. 'By discovering Marquayrol', Claude Juskiewenski has noted, 'Henri Martin had found his equilibrium, his personal and artistic fulfillment' (C. Juskiewenski, Henri Martin 1860-1943, exh. cat., Cahors & Toulouse, 1993, p. 103).
The present work depicts the pergola whose location afforded expansive views of the surrounding countryside. The classical lines of the pergola contrast markedly with the lushness of the vegetation that it supports. As Martin's correspondence attests, he was increasingly compelled to capture the effect of changing seasons. Here, he does so through the medium of the vine leaves which are depicted in deep and fiery autumnal reds and oranges as well as in more faded yellows and shades of green. Known for his harmonious portrayals of figures in nature, here they are placed in the context of his own terrace with nature as a backdrop.
During the first decade of the Twentieth Century, Martin painted a series of magisterial panels for the Salle Martin in the Capitole of Toulouse. These portray the cycle of the seasons set within the landscape of Labistide-du-Vert. His series of shimmering canvases of the pergola at Marquayrol, of which the present work is a particularly accomplished example, provide the more intimate, domestic counterparts to this grand public commission.