Albert Marquet (1875-1947)
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Albert Marquet (1875-1947)

Le cercle nautique, Marseille

Details
Albert Marquet (1875-1947)
Le cercle nautique, Marseille
signed 'marquet' (lower left)
oil on canvas
28 3/4 x 36 3/8 in. (73 x 92.3 cm.)
Painted in 1916
Provenance
Galerie Druet, Paris (no. 8634 & 10404).
Anonymous sale, Christie's, New York, 15 May 1997, lot 263.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. XXI, no. 81, Paris, March 1939 (illustrated on the cover).
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Veronica Scarpati
Veronica Scarpati

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the critical catalogue of Albert Marquet's paintings being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute.


Marquet was born in 1875 in the great port city of Bordeaux. Although he left Bordeaux at fifteen-years-old in order to pursue his artistic career in Paris, the motif of the port, with its grand structures, play of light on water and bustling commerce, retained an enduring fascination for Marquet. In the years around 1910, as Marquet was just beginning to win an audience for his art, when he was not scouring the quais of Paris for a subject for a painting, he was often travelling around the ports of Europe and North Africa - Hamburg, Naples, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Algiers, Tunis - in search of a motif. During the years of the First World War, Marquet's contract with his dealer Eugène Druet enabled him to move to the south of France and the present work dates from one of the painting trips Marquet made to Marseilles at this time. Marquet's habit was to take a room in the Hotel Beauvau, from the windows of which one could get a broad view of the port.

The present lot is replete with the busy human incident that Marquet often sought out in his port pictures. With its play of vertical and horizontal axes, it also offers up the careful geometry that informs much of Marquet's output. However, it is above all the glowing light that we encounter in the present lot which reaches deepest into the essence of Marquet's art. Writing in 1913, Marcel Sembat, a member of the French parliament and early supporter of Picasso in his Cubist experiments, commented: 'No artist has the same relationship with light as Marquet. It is as if he owned it. He possesses the secret of a pure and intense light which fills all the sky with its uniform and colourless glow... Luminous as daylight itself and so transparent that a painting by Marquet gives the impression of a large window being opened onto the outside' (quoted in exh. cat., Marquet, New York, 1985, p. 6).

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