Albert Marquet has long been associated with Fauvist painters who, for a brief period between 1904 and 1908, immersed themselves in richly saturated hues, the last engagement with color before Cubism. Like fellow painters Vlaminck and Derain, Marquet often painted seaside ports and rivers meandering through cities, though his palette was softer and more subdued. Marquet's "Sargeant of the Colonial Regiment", of which another version exists in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, is one of his few portraits. Yet his rather opaque characterization is less about personality than military decorum. The figure's gold epaulettes, stripes, and shiny brass buttons bespeak his role as assistant to the quartermaster-corporal, decorative details that define and relieve the dark blue mass of his military jacket. Marquet's choice of subject coincides with the fervent French colonization of Indochina, the West Indies, and northern Africa in the early years of the twentieth century, following France's crushing defeat in the Franco-Prussian War.
Signature: Signed (lower right): Marquet
Mme Marquet, Paris; acquired from René Gas, Paris, by Robert Lehman, New York, 1949.