Henri Manguin

Le Golfe de Saint-Tropez

Oil on canvas: 25.6(h) x 31.9(w) in /

65.1(h) x 81(w) cm

Signed lower right: Manguin

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BT 209



Paris 1874 – 1949 St Tropez


Le Golfe de Saint-Tropez


Signed lower right: Manguin

Oil on canvas: 25 5/8 x 31 7/8 in / 65.1 x 81 cm

Frame size: 33 ½ x 39 ½ in / 85.1 x 100.3 cm


Painted in autumn 1919



Acquired from Manguin by Madame E Druet in January 1920;

Galerie Druet, Paris, inv. no.9119;

from whom acquired by a private collector, France, in the 1930s;

by descent in a private collection, Paris



Paris, Galerie E Druet, Henri Manguin, February-March 1921, no.7



Marie-Caroline Sainsaulieu, Henri Manguin Catalogue Raisonné de l’Oeuvre Peint sous la Direction de Lucile et Claude Manguin, Neuchâtel 1980, pp.223-224, no.631, illus.



Henri Manguin was a pupil with Matisse, Marquet, Rouault and Camoin in the studio of Gustave Moreau, a liberal teacher who sensed the ferment of originality in these young men: he told them that he was the bridge over which they would pass. They sprang to notoriety at the 1905 Salon d’Automne, with paintings in which vivid, anti-naturalistic colour is used as a vehicle to express emotion. Perspective, paramount since the Renaissance, was jettisoned in favour of eddying black lines and a pulsating picture plane. The outraged critic Louis Vauxcelles dubbed these artists ‘fauves’ (wild beasts).


Manguin first discovered the South of France in 1904, when he was invited to Saint-Tropez by Signac. From the 1920s, like his friend Matisse, he divided his time between Paris and the South of France, renting, then buying, a house called l’Oustalet just west of Saint-Tropez. Le Golfe de Saint-Tropez was painted in the autumn of 1919, when Manguin returned to the area after spending the First World War in Switzerland. It is radiant with a sense of relief that peace has returned.


The view is taken from Château-Martin, about half a mile east of l’Oustalet, overlooking the sapphire blue waters of the Golfe de Saint-Tropez. By this time Manguin had moved away from the hot, clashing colours of his Fauve period to achieve a harmonious, interlinked palette. He distils the essence of the landscape through touches of colour that blend on the picture surface, evoking the pulsating brightness of the Midi. He weaves greens, blues, blue-greys and violet shadows with areas of ochre and flesh pink in the sun-drenched foreground and the orange-red tiled roof of a whitewashed cottage, which draws the eye into the middle distance. The energy of nature is suggested by the twisting trunk of the olive to the left and by the light, glancing brushwork of the shimmering tree that dominates the foreground.


The figure reading, her face cool under a broad-brimmed straw hat, is Manguin’s wife Jeanne, whom he married in 1899. She was his constant muse and model, adding much to the harmony of this painting by her graceful, tranquil presence. As Pierre Cabanne comments, ‘Manguin was a pioneer of conjugal painting, his highly charged vocabulary becomes a love song; his internal monologue transforms into a sweet dialogue between himself and Jeanne and between nature and objects’[1]. Like Cézanne and Matisse, Manguin found in the South of France a timeless Arcadia in which it was possible to live at one with nature.








Paris 1874 – 1949 St Tropez



Henri Manguin was born in Paris in 1874. In 1894 he entered the studio of Gustave Moreau at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, a fellow pupil of Matisse, Marquet, Rouault, Valtat and Camoin, who remained lifelong friends. In 1899 he married his muse and model Jeanne Carette and in 1902 exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Indépendents. Manguin first discovered the South of France in 1904, when he was invited to Saint-Tropez by Paul Signac, with whom he shared a love of fast cars. The dazzling Mediterranean light had a profound effect on Manguin’s work. Manguin and his friends showed paintings with emotionally-charged, anti-naturalistic colour and shifting perspective at the 1905 Salon d’Automne, provoking the critic Louis Vauxcelles to dub them ‘fauves’ (wild beasts). The following year Ambroise Vollard bought 150 of Manguin’s works.


Manguin depicted nudes, landscapes, interior scenes and still lifes in a direct, painterly style, although the palette of his later work is softer and more naturalistic than that of his Fauve period. From the 1920s, like Matisse, he divided his time between Neuilly-sur-Seine to the west of Paris and the South of France, renting, then buying, a house called l’Oustalet at Saint-Tropez. Manguin also made painting trips to Normandy, Brittany and other parts of France and to Switzerland, where he gained important patrons through his friendship with Félix Vallottan. Manguin died at Saint-Tropez in 1949. In 1950 the Salon des Indépendents organized a major retrospective of his work.


The work of Henri Manguin is represented in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Hermitage, St Petersburg; the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.
















[1] Cabanne in Sainsaulieu, op. cit., p.10 (translation).

ImpressionistHenri Manguin