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    Henri Jean Guillaume Martin (French, 1860-1943)
    Couple se promenant (study for "Le Jardin du Luxembourg" grand decoration, Mairie du 5ème arrondissement, Paris), circa 1935
    Oil on canvas
    32 x 19 inches (81.3 x 48.3 cm)
    Signed lower left: Henri Martin.
    Inscribed on stretcher: No. 23

    Property from the collection of Marcella Swarttz, Beverly Hills, California

    Galerie Reine, New York;
    Sotheby's, New York, April 2, 1981, lot 38A;
    Borgenicht Gallery, New York.

    Couple se promenant is a study for the Jardin du Luxembourg decoration scheme of the grand stairway of the Mairie du 5ème arrondissement in Paris, commissioned by the town hall in 1934. For the monumental cycle spanning the semicircular wall at the top of the stairs, Martin created in his distinctive Pointillist style five luminous landscapes depicting the main attractions of the famous Luxembourg Gardens in the neighboring 6th arrondissement. The grand basin, or pool, a favorite spot for sailing model boats, anchors the three central paintings and allowed Martin to show off his flair for rendering leisurely upper middle-class Parisians in their Sunday finest, as well as the lush, ordered plantings of the surrounding balustraded terraces. Meanwhile, in the two outer paintings, the garden's tree-lined, sculpture-accented alleys provide shade for strolling couples, ladies sewing, children playing on the path, and a gentleman reading. The smartly dressed young couple in the present lot-a book toting student and her beau--appear in the painting to the right of center and, unlike their fellow spectators, turn away from the fountain, lost in their own communion.

    In 1935, when Martin completed Le Jardin du Luxembourg, he was considered one of France's most prestigious Post-Impressionist painter-decorators, who celebrated the rich variety of the country's rural and urban industries. His earlier public commissions included decorations for the City Hall in Toulouse (countryside Mowers and riverbank Promenaders, 1906), the Palais Royal in Paris (Laborers of France, 1920), and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Béziers (The Vineyard, 1932). The Musée du Petit Palais in Paris held a retrospective exhibition of Martin's work in 1935 and featured a more in-depth study of Couple se promenant, a work that has remained in their collection ever since that time.

    We wish to thank Madame Marie-Anne Destrebecq-Martin for providing invaluable cataloguing assistance. She will include this work in her forthcoming Henri Martin catalogue raisonné, and her photo-certificate accompanies the lot.

    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas. Finely patterned craquelure visible in the thicker areas of impasto and in the primer layer in the bottom 12 inches of the picture surface. A very few pinpoint losses to the impasto. A few scattered dimples in the canvas. A small spot of white retouching to the lower left corner, carefully applied around the 'M' of the signature. Not examined out of frame.
    Under UV: aforementioned finely applied spot of retouching to background color around 'M' in lower left corner.
    Framed Dimensions 38.25 X 25.75 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2021
    4th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,448

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