Galerie Georges Petit, Paris
Private collection (acquired from above in the 1930’s)
Sale: Sotheby’s, New York, 9 November 1994, lot 156
Exposition de Bruxelles, Galerie du Studio, Brussels, 1924
The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Cyrille Martin.
The amber light of a fading day envelops a harbour in this exemplary Neo-Impressionist work. Glowing with warm contrasts, La Tour de Collioure, Lever de Lune shows Henri Martin at the height of his powers and depicts the town in which he produced the finest paintings of his career. The balance of light and shade, the subtle play of the complementary colours yellow and blue, and the rhythmic arrangement of the ships’ masts capture the artist’s sensitivity to his subject.
Having developed a successful career as a painter in Paris, Martin began to feel stultified by the clamour of city life. In 1923, seeking fresh inspiration, he turned his back on the capital for the seclusion of Collioure, a port town located at the foot of the Pyrenees near the Spanish border. Martin was in his sixties when he moved to this Roman town. Though he was in the latest phase of his career, the move reinvigorated his work; he produced his best pieces here. He was able to draw upon the company of fellow artists who gathered in the town. Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, and Paul Signac visited the town from 1905 onwards; Collioure features in many key early Fauvist works. It was Martin, however, who captured the town at its most enchanting. La Tour de Collioure, Lever de Lune depicts the view from his studio overlooking the port.