Description & Technical information

Marie-Anne Destrebecq-Martin indicated that this painting is probably a study for the figure of lovers holding hands in the dining room that is now part of the collections of the Musée de Picardie in Beauvais. A letter from Henri Martin stating: "I will be happy to make up for the omission I committed by not signing one of the studies you acquired at the exp. of Roubaix. If you come to Paris soon you could bring it to me and the signature would be put down immediately ? " is available for this work.

After studying at the Toulouse School of Fine Arts, Henri Martin, who was awarded a scholarship, continued his studies at the Paris School of Fine Arts, where he was a pupil of Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921). From 1880 to 1889, he exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français according to the academic tradition. In 1885, thanks to a second scholarship, he visited Italy and studied Italian primitives. He discovered the art of Giotto in particular, but also the light of the Mediterranean landscapes which would have a particular influence on his work and which led him to turn towards Neo-Impressionism. It is notably through his friend the painter Aman-Jean, a close friend of Seurat that Henri Martin developed his technique and became interested in Pointillism. Henri Martin also asserted himself as an outstanding decorator working for the City Hall of Paris from 1892, he also decorated the Capitole of Toulouse, the City Hall of Marseille and Edmond Rostand's Villa. He took an active part in the Symbolist movement of the last years of the century. However, his allegorical and poetic figures gradually gave way to representations of contemporary life and numerous landscapes.

In 1911, Henri Martin, at the request of Doctor d'Herbécourt, created four panels for his Parisian apartment. Of monumental size, these represent rural scenes of landscapes of the Lot and the banks of the Garonne. In a corner of the Doctor's dining room, the panel "Paysage au couple" represents a couple in love within a flowery landscape. Our oil on canvas "Femme en rose" is a preparatory oil for this panel on which we find the same young woman but this time dressed in pink.

The artist before the realization of his final canvases painted in the open air, he planted his easel in real places which were later used for the final work done in the studio. Henri Martin reproduced his models several times, going from simple sketches in pencil to preparatory work in oil. In our painting, the artist focuses on the young woman, who is shown standing and in profile in front of a sketch of a country landscape. Colour takes precedence over line, touches of pure colour are applied directly to the canvas to create the drawing. In reference to her youth and candour, the young woman is painted in pinkish hues. The artist degrades the colour, it goes from a light pink to a dark pink to mark the difference between body parts and clothing. He does not hesitate to vary the direction of the brushstrokes in order to distinguish the different elements, the touch is more pointillist on the face while sharp linear brushstrokes are applied for the dress. By using light tones that he breaks down, he manages to express the vibrations of light that bathe this canvas. Marked by an exacerbated freshness and liveliness, this work fits perfectly into the neo-impressionist movement of which Henri Martin is a figure.

Date:  Circa 1910-1911
Period:  20th century
Origin:  France
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 77 x 34 cm (30³/₈ x 13³/₈ inches)

Acquired in 1913 by the grandfather of the former owner.

Literature: This work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné de l'oeuvre d'Henri Martin, being prepared by Marie-Anne Destrebecq-Martin.


Henri Martin, Roubaix, 1913.