The French Neo-Impressionism Painter – Henri Martin
The post-Impressionism painter, Henri Martin was born in Toulouse. He came from a family of moderate means. At the age of 17 years, he started studying art at the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse.
At the end of his studies, Martin received a prize for his outstanding school achievements. He received a prestigious scholarship allowing him to further his studies in painting in Paris.
Henri Martin’s Art Studies in Paris & Italy
In Paris, Henri Martin studied under the esteemed history painter, Jean-Paul Laurens. During this period, Martin painted predominantly classical and historical themed paintings.
Martin’s promising talent in Paris again awarded him with a second art scholarship. This enabled him to study in Italy under the Italian masters. During his time in Italy, Martin developed an appreciation of landscapes and architecture, as reflected in his paintings.
Impressionism & Neo-Impressionism Painters Influence Martin’s Style
On his return to Paris, Henri Martin attended an Exhibition of Signac and Seurat. Here he saw their pointillism art. This was a pivotal moment for Martin and he started experimenting with this avant garde technique.
However, his style was different to Seurat and the other neoimpressionism painters. Rather than painting with dots, Martin painted using separated parallel strokes. For this reason, he was not included or associated with the pointillism art movement.
Henri Martin was also influenced by the Impressionism art movement. Like the impressionism painters, Martin enjoyed to capture the changing light and its effects on nature. However, he did not paint outdoors (en plain-air) like the impressionists.
In 1889, the esteemed Paris Salon awarded his painting Fête de la Fédération with a gold medal. This was a remarkable achievement. It was one of the first neoimpressionism paintings to achieve recognition in the Salon.
In 1895, Henri Martin received a highly regarded commission to decorate several rooms in the new Paris town hall. For his artworks here, Martin received the most prestigious accolades that can be awarded to a French civilian -the Medal of the Legion of Honor .
Henri Martin also received a major prize at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris.
Between 1903 – 1906, he decorated the capitol building in Toulouse.
Martin’s artistic reputation grew and he found himself with more public commissions than he could handle. Strangely however, despite his incredible achievements within France, Henri Martin did not achieve international recognition like many of his contemporaries.
Henri Martin Leaves Paris for a Quieter Life
In 1900, Henri Martin bought an old farmhouse called “Marquayrol” in a small village north of Cahors called Labastide-du-Vert. Surrounding the farmhouse were beautiful gardens and wonderful views of the countryside.
Being an introvert, Martin loved the quiet, secluded life in Labastide-du-Vert. The house, his family and the beautiful surrounding countryside provided him with ample inspiration for the rest of his life.
These paintings from his period in Labastide-du-Vert are today hanging on the walls of museums all over France.
Henri Martin remained in Labastide-du-Vert until his death on November 12, 1943.
Where to View Henri Martin’s Paintings in France
Toulouse (Henri Martin’s birthtown)
Toulouse is very proud of their home grown artist, Henri Martin. To celebrate their talented artist, there are two great places to view his art:
Musée des Augustins
Musee des Augustins is a fabulous museum located in the city center of Toulouse. The museum itself is a beautifully restored 13th century convent. The museums offers a wonderful experience for those wanting a delve into Toulouse’s history over the centuries through its art. Interestingly, this museum is not much younger than the Louvre in Paris. Musee des Augustins offers a great collection of religious paintings from the 14th-18th century. There is also a wonderful collection of sculptures from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. Another section provides French artworks from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here you will see a fine collection of the Toulouse luminary Henri Martin. Also are wonderful paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Morrisot,Courbet and many others. Audio-guides are available and guided tours in all languages. Press here for more information.
The Henri Martin room in the Place du Capitole
The Place du Capitole is a large area in Toulouse’s city centre. The town hall is located here and exhibits a wonderful exhibition of artists of the region. The Henri Martin room is a large room dedicated to the paintings of Henri Martin. These paintings are massive! Some of the paintings depict the Toulouse countryside during the four seasons. Another set of paintings depict city views of Toulouse and its riverside wharves. They are stunning! Entry is free. Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm
Press here for more information
Cahors – Musée Henri Martin
Just a few kilometres north of Toulouse, is a small city called Cahors. Cahors is famous for its deep red wine, its beautiful municipal gardens and the Pont Valentré, a medieval bridge with 3 towers. There is a fabulous old town with buildings centuries years old.
Musee Henri Martin is another gem in Cahors. The Henri Martin paintings in this museum is worth a visit to Cahors on its own. The collection is well displayed and highlights his magnificent use of light in his paintings.
Opening hours: 11am-6pm daily (check the website as the museum is currently closed for renovations)
Other Museums Showcasing Henri Martin Paintings: