The late Cyrille Martin has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Martin was born in 1860 in Toulouse, where, at the age of 17, he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He quickly excelled in school and two years later, after winning their Grand Prix, moved to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under academic painter Jean-Paul Laurens. Laurens introduced Martin to the masters of the Italian Renaissance, and his study of their works while on a trip to Italy in 1883 infused warmth into his palette and turned his focus to atmosphere. On returning to Paris in 1889, he experimented with the Neo-Impressionist method of Pointillism and by 1898, the Pointillist technique of creating an image through contrasting colored dots was fully integrated into the modern pictorial tradition. In the present work, Martin deftly combines this technique with the classical education he received in Italy. Here, the warm sun bathes a quiet French countryside scene. Martin placed dots and stripes of color closely together, resulting in a surface which is both rigorous and fluid, mirroring the nature into the depths of the painting. The shadows of the poplar trees point towards the foreground, balancing the composition.
The first owner of the present work, M. Loubet of Toulouse, commissioned this painting from the artist, and the work hung as the central panel of his living room. Describing the present work, Claude Juskiewenski has written: “The central panel, which stretches over 2.5 meters long, represents a tender green meadow dotted with gold, with gentle violet hills in the background…Pink or white, the flowers of the trees are close to the blue and white sky; the golden buttons brush the green of the meadow. Only the trunk of the willow tree brings an almost nervous and harsh, almost disturbing, tone, in the middle of so much joy. The country house nestled in the hollow of the valley, barely distinguishable from the mass of hills has lost its individuality to blend into the reliefs that surround it…The paintings are arranged in the living room so that most of the shadows seem to converge towards the viewer or lead his gaze in the direction of the next painting” (op. cit.).