Madame Manguin, St Tropez, 1949
Hilde Gerst Gallery, NYC 1990
Private Collection, USA
Lucile & Claude Manguin, Henri Manguin, Catalogue Raisonne de l'oeuvre peint, Neuchatel, 1980, no. 979, ill. P. 314
Henri Charles Manguin was born on March 23, 1874 in Paris. In 1894, he enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts where he studied under Gustave Moreau, a French Symbolist artist whose main emphasis was on the illustration of B ilical and mythological figures. He became close friends with his fellow students Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, Jean Puy, and Charles Camoin. They all studied and copied the works of the great Renaissance masters in the Louvre. Manguin would later become influenced by Impressionism as shown in his use of bright pastel hues. Manguin held his first exhibitions in 1902 at the Salon des Indépendents and the Salon d’Automne. He traveled with his good friend and fellow artist Albert Marquet throughout southern France. On one of these trips in 1904, Manguin discovered Saint-Tropez where he eventually settled and where he died in 1949 at the age of 75. Saint-Tropez provided the inspiration for Manguin’s major Mediterranean landscapes which were full of the light and beauty of the vegetation there. These paintings marked the height of his career as a Fauve artist.
Manguin depicts Odette, his son’s wife who occassionally modeled for the artist, reading in a luxurious garden. A Post-Impressionist inspiried exploration of color with Manguin’s use of bright flowers contrasting the dark foliage. He directs the viewer’s focus to the model by placing her in a white dress and chair. The light and airy brushstoke adheres to the asethtic of an elegant and serine atmosphere in a natural setting. Manguin calls upon his time at the École des Beaux-Arts by creating a more traditional perspective, but this is used to ease the eye into a calming and inviting scene.