THE PARIS PAINTINGS OF ALBERT MARQUET


Today I want to take a look at how Albert Marquet (1875-1947), a close friend of Henri Matisse and generally regarded as a second-rate practitioner of post-Impressionist painting, found his way to harmonics that still speak to us.

This we can do, by concentrating on those most highly acclaimed of his works, namely, the studies of Paris streets and bridges. As a fairly young man, Marquet lived with his mother at the Left Bank foot of the Pont Neuf, and he continued to live there long after her death, taking in something about the City that was endlessly fascinating. Marquet was hardly an “innovator” in the same mold as Matisse. But, like Matisse, he was a remarkably sensitive student of drafting, composition, color and textures; and as such his career provides a quiet but compelling obsession with the riches of a modern urban setting.

Marquet’s presentations of the City’s wondrous constructs draw upon a repertoire of atmospheric incursions to evoke melancholy in the midst of delicious powers.

In this chording, Marquet illuminatively gives to denizens of the twenty-first century something they have to struggle with and cherish.

Our poster from 1949, by Roger di Valerio, deploys that synthesis to impress upon the tourist world that there is so much to learn from a visit to Paris.

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