Henri Martin, ‘cantor of the Lot’.
Determined to devote his life to painting, Henri Martin was 19 when, in 1879, he obtained a scholarship from the City of Toulouse to study at the Beaux-Arts in Paris. In order to perfect his academic education, he left the capital to discover the light and landscapes of Italy. On his return to France, his aesthetic aspirations intermingled, making the artist an unclassifiable painter: symbolist through his poetic, even metaphysical inspiration (the muses invade his canvases), or pointillist and impressionist by techniques of dividing colours by iridescent touches.
Henri Martin gained notoriety by specialising in the decoration of official buildings from the 1890’s until 1935: at the Capitole in Toulouse, at the Sorbonne, at the Council of State in Paris, at the Lot prefecture, in the town halls of the 5th and 10th arrondissements… With his acute sense of observation, he transcribed majestic settings of nature and light throughout the seasons into his paintings.
Rigorous and executed with speed, these ornaments required a great deal of preparatory work. He painted on large canvases which offered, once rolled up, ease of transport. This technique gave him the leisure to work in his Parisian studio.