Henri-Jean Guillaume Martin was born in Toulouse, France in 1860. He first studied art in 1877 at the Toulouse School of the Fine Arts, under Jules Garipuy who was a student of Henry Eugéne Delacroix. Martin then moved to Paris in 1879 and with the help of a scholarship, was able to study in Jean-Paul Laurens’ studio, who was a painter and sculptor in the French Academic style. Four years later, Henri Martin was awarded his first medal at the Paris Salon.
A year later, Martin was given a scholarship to study in Italy. There he was able to see and study the works of such masters as Giotto and Masaccio. During his time in Italy, he developed his wonderful style of short and prominent brush strokes. In 1886, he had his first exhibition at the Paris Salon.
In 1889, Henri Martin submitted a piece in the Pointillist style that earned him a gold medal. That same year he became a member of the Legion of Honour. At the 1900 World Fair, he was awarded the Grand Prize for his work. After winning the award, he met and became friends with Auguste Rodin. Martin decided to move away from Paris in 1900 to a more tranquil environment. He bought Marquayrol, a large farmhouse, where many believe he created his best work. He would live there for the rest of life.
Though Henri Martin was a Post-Impressionist painter, many critics have also associated him with the Symbolists, particularly with French symbolist painter, Puvis de Chavannes. He studied the work of the Divisionists, but did not follow their principles completely as many of his paintings are Pointillist pieces.
Henri Martin died there in 1943. Today his work is part of important museum and private collections throughout the world.