Jacques Majorelle

The Kasbah of Caïd Larbi Dardoui Targout, Souss valley 1927

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Jacques Majorelle

The Kasbah of Caïd Larbi Dardoui Targout, Souss valley 1927
Oil on cardboard, signed, situated and dated  lower right 
50 x 61 cm / 19.68 x 24.02 inch
Frame 73 x 84 cm / 28.74 x 33.07 inch
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Private Collection , France


"Jacques Majorelle, répertoire de l’œœuvre peint" par A. et F. Marcilhac, Ed. Norma reproduced p.267 under the n°92

Biography of Jacques Majorelle

Son of the French decorator and furniture designer Louis Majorelle, Jacques Majorelle grew up in the world of the "Art Nouveau" movement and the École de Nancy. He frequently attended workshops with his father and in 1901 he entered the School of Fine Arts in the architecture and decoration section. The rigour and precision of his professor Jules Larcher greatly influenced his work. In 1903, Jacques Majorelle moved to Paris and became a painter. He was admitted at the Julian Academy where he studied at the studio of Schommer and Royer.

In 1910, he discovered Egypt and the Islamic world, its colors, lights and traditions. It was the beginning of his passion for Africa.In 1917 he went to Morocco and settled in Marrakesh on the advice of General Lyautey, a close friend of the family. He lived near the souks and their shiny colors. The following year, he held his first exhibition in the hall of the Excelsior Hotel in Casablanca.

In 1919, Jacques Majorelle made his first expedition to the southern part of the country, and on his return published his "Log Book of a Painter in the Atlas and Anti-Atlas", a diary describing his tremendous 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 the architect Paul Sinoir, inspired by Le Corbusier and the Palais de la Bahia. The first floor was his main residence while the ground floor was a big studio for his large scale works. 

In 1930 he increased his experiments with color, especially with the use of gold and silver powder, and started painting black nudes. He travelled 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.

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