Quai du Louvre, summer
The quays along the Seine in the centre of Paris are a favourite subject in Marquet's work before and during the Fauvist years. The artist's relationship with Fauvism never supposed absolute submission to its principles. Like the Fauvists he was for brightness of colour and for simplification, but he remained more closely tied to nature than they. Without discoveries made by the Impressionists in depicting light, Marquet could not have painted his sunbathed landscapes. At the same time, however, the dappled foliage, the shimmering atmosphere, and the sense of movement in the work of the Impressionists were foreign to the artist. Neither the omnibus nor the pedestrians move in Marquet's picture: they are magically still. Nor does the diagonal of the Quai has a dynamic function here. Instead, it serves as a vehicle of a lucid calm. The shadows, the brilliant sidewalk, the rich green trees absorbing the warm light of a cloudless sky at the end of summer - this harmonious ensemble gives us the special poetry of Paris.