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Henri Martin (1860-1943)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION
Henri Martin (1860-1943)

Vue générale de St Cirq-Lapopie

Details
Henri Martin (1860-1943)
Vue générale de St Cirq-Lapopie
oil on canvas
46 x 43 3/4 in. (116.8 x 111.1 cm.)
Painted circa 1930
Provenance
Ansas de Pradines, Toulouse.
William Findlay Gallery, Chicago.
New York University School of Law; sale, Sotheby's, New York, 11 February 1987, lot 63.
Private collection, Europe, by whom acquired at the above sale; sale, Sotheby's, London, 8 December 1999, lot 152.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, New York, 9 May 2001, lot 369.
Private collection, Florida, by whom acquired at the above sale; sale, Christie's, New York, 5 May 2011, lot 368.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
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.

Brought to you by

Michelle McMullan
Michelle McMullan

Lot Essay

Cyrille Martin confirmed the authenticity of this work.


After receiving the Grand Prix of the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse at the age of nineteen, Henri Martin continued his studies in Paris under Jean-Paul Laurens. Laurens introduced the artist to the masters of the Italian Renaissance, whom he studied in greater depth during his visit to Rome after 1883. Profoundly influenced by these discoveries, he turned to a less academic and more romantic style of painting. In a composition pervaded by a warm and atmospheric light, this painting is an example of Martin’s experimental approach during this period. While he gradually abandoned symbolist themes, here he retains the atmosphere of their landscapes in order to move towards an ideal view of the world, treated in a pointillist style. Indeed, the artist embraced the approach of the pointillists and neo-impressionists, particularly Georges Seurat, who shared a studio with his friend Edmond Aman-Jean, to reclaim these techniques and take them to a monumental scale.

Martin skilfully exploits the divisionist brushstroke into a larger and commanding comma that is transformed to suit what is to be depicted. Working with small, distinct and parallel brushstrokes, placed on material that is already thick and more or less tightly juxtaposed, the artist arranged forms and lighting in a tranquil, unassuming and silent landscape. The picture is brought to life by the light of the Languedoc countryside producing a quite modern, tightly framed work. In that he never allows the demands of the composition to give way to the exhilaration of colour, Martin retains a certain classicism, as much in the nature of the subject as in the realistic treatment of the background.

Perched on a rocky bluff and rising in tiers from the valley below, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is an extremely picturesque location. This village has long inspired artists and writers with its narrow streets, timber-framed buildings and mullion windows. Although Martin was one of the first to paint the idyllic town after buying a house there in 1911, he was not the only one to appreciate it; André Breton also made Saint-Cirq-Lapopie his summer home. A superb environment which encouraged reverie, this very beautiful place brought Henri Martin deep serenity and renewed creativity.

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