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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Albert Marquet, French, 1875-1947

Fishing Boats (Barques des Pecheurs)
About 1906
Oil on canvas
Gift of Evelyn A. and William B. Jaffe, Class of 1964H; P.954.93

With its deliberately simplified draftsmanship and expressive color, this small canvas reflects the style developed by a group of artists who came to be known as Les Fauves (“wild beasts”). The term, coined by influential French art critic Louis Vauxcelles (1870-1943), who admired their youthful exuberance and absolute disregard for the canons of academic painting, described a loose association of painters who shared similar interests and influences. The movement lacked any coherent theoretical principles, and one writer in 1912 in The Burlington Magazine even considered Pablo Picasso to be a representative of the group. 

After studying at the École des Beaux-Arts under Gustave Moreau (1826-1898), Albert Marquet became a close friend of Henri Matisse, with whom he collaborated on a commission in 1900. Soon afterward he developed a style that emphasized spontaneous handling and the application of vivid colors. Although he painted some figurative compositions, he preferred landscapes subjects, especially water scenes. His canvases generally evoke a calm and unperturbed serenity, while his depiction of flat, outlined forms recalls the influence of Japanese prints in late-nineteenth-century French art.

Many of Marquet’s finest works in this manner were done during the summers of 1905, which he spent in the small town of Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera, and 1906, when he traveled to the seaside resort of Sainte-Adresse, on the northern coast of Normandy. Presumably this painting depicted one of these sites. The thick contours, strong colors, and lack of clear articulation of space and volume suggest that it was painted early in his career.



Last Updated: 10/29/09