Epitome of Grace: Fauve Painter Albert Marquet

KatherineArtist Spotlight, European Paintings, Impressionist & ModernLeave a Comment

The work of Albert Marquet is characterized by delicate and flowing brushwork. Considered to be one of the iconic members of the Fauvists, the majority of Marquet’s paintings were not the bright and bold colors associated with the movement. Instead, he favored colors related to water and harbors – blues, greens, and grays.

Portrait of Albert Marquet by Charles Camoin (1904) Musée Fabre, Montpellier © RMN

Portrait of Albert Marquet by Charles Camoin (1904)
Musée Fabre, Montpellier © RMN

As a young man, Marquet studied under Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. Moreau emphasized individualism in painting and became the inspiration for many emerging painters. Numerous members of the Fauvist movement counted him as an influence. While studying under Moreau, Albert Marquet struck a friendship with another young painter –Henri Matisse. The two would remain friends for life. They worked together on decorating the Grand Palais for the 1900 Paris World Exhibition. In 1905, they and other artists exhibited at the Salon d’Automne. Shocked by the bright and outrageous colors of the works, critics called them wild beasts or “fauves.” The upcoming movement had gained itself a name.

A year after this historic exhibition, Marquet began to travel extensively. From Normandy to Africa, Marquet experienced a diverse variety of countries and cities. This had a profound impact on his work. Enchanted with the harbors he saw, he began to focus on capturing the effect of light on water. Albert Marquet would often paint the same harbor at different times of day or under different weather conditions. It seems that he favored gray or rainy days. He aptly captured the effect of muted colors by applying light layers of paint over the scene.

As he traveled, Marquet began to use more natural colors and learned new techniques such as Japanese brush painting and Indian ink drawing. Due to this, his paintings capture the smoothness and motion of water in an elegant way.

From 1940 to 1945, Albert Marquet settled in Aligers. He returned to Paris for the final years of his life. Throughout his career, his paintings were perceptive. Each painting is the epitome of grace.

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