Albert Marquet
(Bordeaux, 1875-1947, Paris)
Le Havre, ca. 1911
Oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm
Signed lower left: Marquet

Le Havre – a view of quay and harbour: there is nothing very complicated about that and certainly nothing very revolutionary; it is, rather, tranquil and reserved. But we need only think back to what Monet learned in Le Havre from Boudin and Jongkind at the beginning of the 1860s, what Boudin created here down to the beginning of the 1890s and how this seaport was interpreted by the aged Pissarro in the year of his death, 1903, in the tradition of Impressionism, in order to become aware of the great revolution made by a younger generation in the first decade of our century, to which generation Albert Marquet belonged, too. And we do not need the chromatic fanfares of the paintings of Le Havre done by Marquet and Dufy in 1906 – only three years after Pissarro – exploiting the colours of the flags of the 14th of July.
The colours of the Bührle Collection's painting by Marquet are thoroughly differentiated: the violet of the quay in shadow, the pale turquoise of the water and the pink of the opposite shore in the sun; this is not an impasto style, but the colours are permeable, like watercolours in effect. Despite this differentiation of the shades and the quiet measured quality, Marquet’s vision is independent and revolutionary, owing to the boldness and breadth of the view from an elevated vantage-point; this angle of vision articulates the harbour scene into a clear structure of coloured planes. Above all, Marquet has masterly simplified and avoided every petty excess producing an effect of a refreshing new beginning, which to this day has lost none of its vitality.