Skip to content

why put martigues on the list?

I forgot why I had wanted to visit Martigues. It was there in plain type on my list under Marseille, which was in bold type. Go to Marseille and spend some time in Martigues.

I remembered only that the little Venice-like town with boats lining the canals has an history going back to the Prehistoric era, the Gallo-Roman times, and the Medieval period.

Sometimes I put a little town on the list because it has a connection to a writer or a painter or a musician. Nina Simone lived and died in nearby Carry-le-Rouet, for example.

The little fishing village L’Estaque, attached to Marseille, is generally not well known, but it is associated with Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism. Cézanne, Braque, Derain, Dufy, Marquet, Friesz, Macke, Renoir, Guigou and Monticelli painted a number of pictures there.

James Baldwin spent the last years of his life in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Marc Chagall lived there as well as did British actor Donald Pleasence.

Martigues is not far from L’Estaque. It should not be surprising that Martigues attracted a number of painters. That is why I wanted to visit.

On one of the canals, four brightly painted boats, red and yellow, reflected off the deep dark blue of the water. They were a sharp contrast to the predominant white boats that lined most of the canals. I kept coming back to them, pausing for a moment, always surprised each time by their intensity. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Port de Martigues (1888)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted the canals and boats in Martigues. Later he discovered Cagnes-sur-Mer, also on the Mediterranean Sea near Nice, and settled, buying an estate. Now it is the Musée Renoir de Cagnes-sur-Mer ou Domaine des Collettes.

Raoul Dufy, Les Bateaux à Martigues (1908)

At the beginning of the 20th century, and around the time when Renoir was buying his estate in Cagnes-sur-Mer, Raoul Dufy, the French Fauvist painter, was in Martigues, painting Les Bateaux à Martigues and Les Bateaux et barques aux Martigues (1907-1908). His seascapes were often inspired by the French Riviera.

Nico Klopp, Le port de Martigues (1929)

Nico Klopp, a little known painter today, was not French but from Luxembourg. He is primarily remembered for his post-impressionist paintings of scenes on the river Moselle and of Remich where he lived.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nancy Gibbs #

    These photos are truly beautiful.

    • Thank you. What pleased me, I think, were the bright (in the sharp sunshine) primary colors. Then the colors reflected off the glassy blue water.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: