To be included in the forthcoming supplement to the Albert Marquet catalogue raisonné currently in preparation by the Wildenstein Institute.
Painted in 1907-08, Notre-Dame de Paris is a view of Marquet's beloved Seine. For much of his life, Marquet ensured that his studio was on the river so that he could capture the ever-changing appearance of the buildings up and down the river from him, and most importantly among these recurring 'characters' was the cathedral of Notre-Dame. It is telling to look at some of his other pictures of the same building that one can monitor and chart the gradual changes that occurred within the realm of his own painting style. For in Notre-Dame de Paris, Marquet has already abandoned his Fauve palette, exploring the view with a more discreet, subdued and-- most importantly-- subtle range of colours. These colours allow Marquet to lend the cathedral a significant monumentality-- despite its being relatively small in terms of the composition and the artist's decision to show so many of the surrounding buildings, the darker shades with which he has rendered Notre-Dame itself lend it a sense of weight and solidity that is in fact increased by the almost geometrical forms and the diagonal lines with which so much of the scene has been rendered.
Marquet's views of the riverside in Paris echo those of his friend Henri Matisse, whose depictions of Notre-Dame likewise bear testimony to the changes in his style. The pair had studied together under Moreau, and remained firm friends. This friendship was demonstrated when Matisse decided to move from his studio at 19, quai Saint-Michel to larger accommodation. It was Marquet who took over this space, and it is reasonable to suppose that Notre-Dame de Paris was therefore painted from the same window from which Matisse himself had earlier painted. The pair had in fact, both as fellow students and later as fellow artists, often painted together, and so Notre-Dame de Paris is an intriguing extension of this collaboration.