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Albert Marquet (1875-1947)
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller
Albert Marquet (1875-1947)

Terrasse aux drapeaux, Hôtel de la Réserve

Details
Albert Marquet (1875-1947)
Terrasse aux drapeaux, Hôtel de la Réserve
signed 'marquet' (lower right)
oil on board
16 x 12 7/8 in. (40.6 x 32.7 cm.)
Painted in Marseille in spring 1919
Provenance
Galerie E. Druet, Paris (acquired from the artist, July 1919).
R. Chevalier, Paris (acquired from the above, November 1920).
Galerie C.-A. Girard, Paris.
Musée de l'Athénée, Geneva (by 1967).
Herman E. Cooper, New York (acquired from the above); sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, 23 October 1974, lot 222.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owners.
Literature
M. Potter et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection: European Works of Art, New York, 1984, vol. I, p. 257, no. 95 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie E. Druet, Albert Marquet, November-December 1920, no. 12 (titled Les Drapeaux).
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Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming Albert Marquet Digital Catalogue Raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

“The first thing which stands out [in Marquet’s work] is that Marquet always remained close to nature. He was acutely aware of reality. He regarded every landscape and scene with interest. For this reason Marquet cannot be accused of being narrow minded. So different from a host of painters who led more circumscribed lives, Marquet was an indefatigable traveller who was always trying to enlarge his horizons. Marquet has left his individual stamp from the dock side cranes of Le Havre to the tugs of Hamburg, from the bobbing masts in the harbours of Tunis and Naples, to the busy scenes of the Bosphorus, Algiers, and Marseilles. From every point of the compass he has reproduced the delicate shades of the changing pattern of light on the hulls of ships, and has captured the most subtle tints of sky and sea” (F. Daulte, “The Work of Marquet,” Marquet, exh. cat., Knoedler Gallery, New York, 1964, n.p.).
In early 1919, Marquet suffered from a bad cold and called his good friend, the doctor Elie Faure, for advice. Dr. Faure prescribed Marquet sun, warm weather and a slower pace of life, which he recommended the artist seek out in the south of France. Marquet promptly departed for Nice, where he visited Henri Matisse, with whom he travelled to Cagnes to call on the aging Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and finally on to Marseilles, where he soon regained his health and began painting again. Marquet spent the month of May in Marseilles, where he painted the present work during this stay.
Terrasse aux drapeaux, Hôtel de la Réserve depicts a bird’s eye view of the sea, the large expanse of glittering turquoise water dominating the majority of the canvas. “In Marquet’s port scenes and in his views over the Seine, there is an unchanging common factor which links the different elements of his compositions. This factor which is at one and the same, both static and mobile, and is both opaque and translucent, is water… His faculty for being able to depict the most subtle of colour shading in his water scenes is in itself testimony perhaps of Marquet’s greatest gift, and of his power of observation” (F. Daulte quoted in exh. cat., op. cit., 1964, n.p.).
Two flags—American and British—dominate the lower right side of the composition, their red, white and blue stripes contrasting amicably with the resplendent sea, and complementing the striped red and white parasols down below. “According to Jean-Claude Martinet, this picture was painted early in 1919 from a window or balcony of the now-destroyed Hôtel La Réserve. Its owner first put out American and British flags in honor of Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, and found them such an attractive decoration that he kept them up permanently” (M. Potter quoted in op. cit., 1984, p. 257). Marquet painted flags on several occasions, and the subject was explored endlessly by his fellow Impressionist and Fauve painters. Marquet was especially drawn to stripes and the vivid bands of color present in flags, and in the French flag in particular.

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