Jacques Martin-Ferrieres

1893-1972

Biography

Born in 1893 into a family in which the arts were held in the highest honor, Jacques Martin-Ferrières did not draw attention to the fact that he was the son of the great second-generation Impressionist, Henri Martin, in order that his success might be solely due to his own merits. He had the most profound veneration for the talent and work of his father and fully acknowledged the debt he owed for the lessons received from him. But he felt that notoriety had only a pecuniary value, for which he dislikes; because usually, notoriety had no relation to real talent.   Thus, Martin-Ferrières first hesitated to devote himself completely to painting—fearing he would be faced with unfavorable criticism as “the son of.” Though he drew and was always attracted to painting from the age of six onwards, he studied both literature and the sciences and received his degree in science. The advanced scientific studies did prove to be of value when he turned entirely to painting, for he had a strong knowledge of chemistry as applied to painting techniques. He also has a talent in the field of music. He was a fervent musician and played the piano, organ and cello. For him, music was food and the ideal respite after long hours of work at his easel.   Jacques Martin-Ferrières did eventually found his way back to painting and became known as a painter of portraits and landscapes after periods of study under Cormon, Ernest Laurent, and his father, Henri Martin. He exhibited regularly in Paris at the Salon des Artistes Français and was able to submit work without vetting. At the Salon, he received an honorable mention in 1920, a silver medal in 1923, and a travel scholarship in 1924. He received the national prize in 1925, before finally being awarded a gold medal in 1928. He was also awarded The Legay-Lebrun prize (Prix de L’Institut). In 1937, he won the Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle; and in 1939, he had a large retrospective exhibition in Paris consisting of more than one hundred and fifty canvases and studies resulting from journeys and showing the range and diversity of his talent.   The war years interrupted his painting. He was captured by the Germans and sentenced to be shot because of him taking part in the work of the Resistance in Dordogne. His life was spared thankfully, but it was nearly 1950 before he again began painting and travelling. He travelled around Europe, drawing and painting everywhere he went. Travel was an integral part of his inspiration. In 1965, he exhibited in Paris in an exhibition of Venetian landscapes and snow landscapes. His style can be summarized briefly by his use of thick impasto, which created a surface of great vitality and a wonderful basis for his experimentation with the effects of light. He died in 1972.
Anne-French Fine Arts
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