Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962)
54 x 72,5 cm
Mixted technique on paper, with gold powder / signed lower left and dated 1955
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Biography of Jacques Majorelle
Son of furniture designer Louis Majorelle, Jacques was immersed from childhood in the "Art Nouveau" wave of the École de Nancy. He frequently attended workshops with his father and in 1901 entered the School of Fine Arts in the Architecture and Decoration section. There he was taught by Jules Larcher, whose rigour and sense of precision marked Majorelle’s art for the rest of his life. From this architectural training, the artist kept a remarkable sense of composition and attention to line.
In 1903, Jacques Majorelle began to move away from Nancy and his father, preferring to move to Paris and become a painter. He enrolled in the Julian Academy where he studied at the "S R" studio, of Schommer and Royer.
In 1910 he discovered Egypt, the world of Islam, its colors, light and customs. He stayed for four years, absorbing local life and banishing from his compositions the bazaar art objects and regalia so dear to 19th century painters. It was the beginning of his passion for Africa.
In 1917 he arrived in Morocco and settled in Marrakesh on the advice of General Lyautey, a close friend of the family. He lived near the souks with their ravishing colors. The following year he held his first exhibition in the hall of the Excelsior Hotel in Casablanca.
In 1919, he made his first expedition to the southern part of the country, and on his return published his "Travelogue of a Painter in the Atlas and the Anti-Atlas", a journal describing his formidable journey. In 1922, he bought a palm grove on the border of Marrakesh and in 1931 built an astonishingly modern Art Deco-style villa designed by architect Paul Sinoir, inspired by Le Corbusier and Marrakesh’s Palais de la Bahia. He made the upper floor his main residence while the ground floor was a vast art studio for painting his enormous works.
In 1930 he increased his experiments with color, especially the application of gold and silver powder, and started painting black nudes. He traveled often to Atlas and black Africa. In 1937, the artist created an ultramarine blue, light and intense: the famous Majorelle blue, which he would paint the walls of his villa and then the garden to make a living tableau that he opened to the public in 1947.