Henry Martin

Versailles, circa 1920
Oil on canvas
Signed lower left
Size: 65 x 46cm
With frame: 91 x 74 cm

The painting represents a garden path of the Palace of Versailles.
Gardens are a great source of inspiration for many painters. Rather than the central aisle and the famous fountains of Lenôtre, he chose a more intimate environment to develop his painting. The painter invites us to take the shaded path to the fountain. The spectator projects his way on the perspective that the painter draws, and gets lost in the serene contemplation of nature whose freshness of the trees is almost perceptible.

Henri Martin is famous for his specific “comma” brushstroke.

Henri Jean Guillaume Martin was born in Toulouse to a cabinetmaker father. He is very early attracted by the world of painting. He studied at the Toulouse School of Fine Arts in the studio of painter Jules Garipuy between 1877 and 1879. He arrived in Paris in 1880, thanks to a municipal scholarship. He continued his apprenticeship in Paris with his master Jean-Paul Laurens, painter and sculptor.

In 1885, his trip to Italy was a turning point in his pictorial practice. The symbolist painter turns to a more poetic painting. He undertakes the trip with the idea of studying the primitives, he acquires experience and technicality. Henry Martin
re-invent ; he detaches himself from his academic teaching. The artist develops his own style: the short strokes, the bright and luminous colors, the idealized scenes and the dreamlike atmosphere become the constants of his work.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the painter put his art at the service of numerous public commissions. It adorns buildings such as the Capitole de Toulouse, the Sorbonne University and the Elysée Palace (1908) or the Council of State (1914-1922). After settling in his studio in Labastide-du-Vert (Lot), he broke away from the symbolist themes of his beginnings (without however abandoning them completely) to move towards an introspective practice.
Appointed Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1914, he was elected full member of the Academy of Fine Arts (painting section) in 1917. Died in 1943 in Labastide-du-Vert, Henri Martin remains a recognized artist whose universe, imbued with poetry, dreams and mystery, is an invitation to travel recalling his favorite writers: Baudelaire, of course, but also Verlaine, Poe or Lord Byron.

Museums :

• Orsay Museum Paris

•Fabre Museum, Montpellier

•Reims Museum of Fine Arts

• Dijon Museum of Fine Arts,

– Paul Dupuy House in Toulouse…

– The Musée de Cahors continues to honor the painter’s work, with a permanent display of over fifty of his paintings.

Bibliography :

• Claude Juskiewenski, Sabine Maggiani, Luce Barlangue, Henri Martin (1860-1943): everyday dreams: paintings held in French public collections, [exhibition, Cahors, Henri Martin Museum, Rognault Departmental Museum of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, June 7 – October 6, 2008, Bordeaux,

• Museum of Fine Arts, October 23, 2008 – February 1, 2009, Douai, Chartreuse Museum, March 13 – June 10, 2009], Milan, Silvana, 2008.

• Henri Martin: 1860-1943, [Cahors, Henri Martin Museum, Toulouse, Capitole, September 14-September 29, 1993], Paris, Fragments, 1993