Porquerolles, après-midi d’été
Oil on canvas: 18.1(h) x 24(w) in / 46(h) x 61(w) cm
Signed lower left: Marquet; titled and dated on the stretcher: Après midi d’été /1939
Bordeaux 1875 - 1947 Paris
Porquerolles, après-midi d’été
Signed lower left: Marquet;
titled and dated on the stretcher: Après midi d’été /1939
Oil on canvas: 18 ⅛ x 24 in / 46 x 61 cm
Frame size: 25 ¼ x 31 ¼ in /64.1 x 79.4 cm
Possibly sale, Galerie Motte, Geneva, 2nd-3rd November 1971, lot 435 (as Porquerolles) Galerie du Théâtre, Geneva, 1972
Schröder and Leisewitz, Bremen, 1985 (as Porquerolles) Galerie Beauvau, Paris, by October 1992 Private collection, Germany
Possibly Paris, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Albert Marquet. Peintures, aquarelles, dessins, 23rd April-11th May 1940, no.1 (as L’Eté à Porquerolles)
Geneva, Galerie du Théâtre, Exposition Marquet, Renoir, Derain, Picasso, Ciry, 29th July-30th August 1972, no.6 (as Porquerolles, dated 1938)
Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg, Orangerie ’85 – Deutscher Kunsthandel im Schloss Charlottenburg, 12th-29th September 1985 (on the stand of Schröder and Leisewitz, as Porquerolles) Sète, Musée Paul-Valéry, Albert Marquet (1875-1947). Plages et ports, 1st October-15th December 1992, no.41, illus. in colour (as Porquerolles, dated 1938)
Journal de Genève, no.176, 29th-30th July 1972, p.9 and no.203, 30th August 1972, p.13
Weltkunst, vol. 55, no.17, 1st September 1985, p.2283
This painting was authenticated in 1982 by FC Martinet, Albert Marquet’s nephew
To be included in the forthcoming Digital Catalogue Raisonné of the work of Albert Marquet currently being prepared by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc., ref. 19.12.12/20644
Albert Marquet lived on the banks of the Seine most of his life and became celebrated for his sensitive observation of Paris and its river. Fascinated by water, ports and coastline, he was also an inveterate traveller, visiting England, the USSR and North Africa, among other places, as well as exploring his native France.
As a young man in the studio of Gustave Moreau, Marquet forged friendships with Camoin, Rouault, Manguin and Matisse. They burst upon the Salon d’Automne in 1905 with vibrant colours and bold brushwork, leading a critic to dub them ‘Fauves’ (Wild Beasts). Marquet was closely associated with this group in the early years of the twentieth century and its legacy can be seen in this view of Porquerolles, painted in 1939.
Marquet evokes the colour-saturated Mediterranean landscape on a hot afternoon in that last summer of European peace. The hues he chooses are never obvious or banal, but form a unique signature. The sea is a pristine aquamarine, given context and pictorial depth by the even-more-vivid blue of the central boat. Marquet ‘draws’ with economy in paint, suggesting the shape of the boat, its mast and rigging with a minimum of bold strokes, contrasting the blue with a few lines of lipstick-red. The composition is underpinned by a geometric precision, a balance of horizontal and vertical lines, shoreline and jetty against masts and church tower. As with most of Marquet’s paintings, humanity is implied but largely absent. The only person here is a small child, gazing upon the water from the jetty.
Porquerolles is one of the Provençal Iles d’Hyères, situated south-east of Toulon. Marquet’s painting shows the village of Porquerolles, with the church and wooded slopes crowned by the Fort Saint Agathe. The village was built around 1820 for the families of the military stationed there; situated at the approach to Toulon, one of France’s most important naval bases, the island had strategic significance. The pale yellow stone of the Fort Saint Agathe, reflects the afternoon sun. Sixteenth century in origin, it was renovated under Cardinal Richelieu, Napoleon III and the Third Republic.
Marquet made a number of views of Porquerolles in 1938-9, including a sunset (private collection) from a similar angle to the present painting; La barque, Porquerolles, 1939 (private collection) and Temps gris à Porquerolles, 1939 (private collection).
Bordeaux 1875 - 1947 Paris
Albert Marquet was born in Bordeaux in 1875, the son of a railway employee. He went to Paris to study at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs at the age of fifteen. Six years later he joined the studio of Gustave Moreau, where he met and forged lasting friendships with Camoin, Rouault, Manguin and Matisse. During this period Marquet began to use the vibrant colours and bold brushwork that is characteristic of the Fauves with whom he was closely associated. He exhibited at Berthe Weill and the Galerie Druet, Paris from 1902 and from 1903 at the Salon d’Automne.
After 1907 Marquet’s interest in Japonisme resulted in more sober works. He travelled extensively, frequently leaving his apartment on the banks of the Seine to visit England, Germany, Italy, the USSR, Scandinavia and North Africa, where he spent the years of the Second World War. He met his wife Marcelle Martinet, whom he married in 1923, on his first stay in Algiers in 1920.
The most profound influence on his work is that of the Impressionists, most notably Paul Cézanne. Like the Impressionists his favourite subjects were port scenes, beaches, quaysides, river views and coastal villages; he was particularly fascinated by the effect of light on water.
André Rouveyre, a fellow student in Gustave Moreau’s atelier, wrote: ‘Marquet reigns over the kingdom of light. The light that shines on the things of this world, of course, but also that which belongs to his pictures alone: a strangely regal quality that comes from his sensitivity and wisdom. Skies, hills, houses, streets all bathe in his subtle but intense lights’.
The work of Albert Marquet is represented in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Musée des Beaux-Arts, La Rochelle; the Musée de Grenoble; the Hermitage, St Petersburg; Tate, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
 Christie’s Paris, 18th October 2016.
 Christie’s Paris, 22nd-23rd October 2015, lot 123.
 Christie’s London, 21st June 2018, lot 385.