OIL ON CANVAS, SIGNED
FRANCE, DATED 1912
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Jacqueline Marval was born in Grenoble in 1866, the daughter of two schoolteachers, she was born Marie-Joseph Vallet.
She qualified as a schoolteacher in 1884, and also began to paint under the name Marie Jacques. When her first marriage broke down after the death of an infant child, she moved to Paris to take up painting.
Marval came to the Montparnasse district and moved in with the painter Jules Flandrin, an artist later known for his paintings of the Ballet Russe, and began using the name Jacqueline Marval. She attended painting classes at the studio of Gustave Moreau, where she became a friend with Matisse and Roualt, among others. For her subject matter Marval chose to capture vibrant still lifes, eccentric women in spectacular hats, wonderfully composed groups of bathers, and modern, colorful scenes of women and children on country outings.
Marval began exhibiting at the Salon des Indépendants in 1901, where she showed 10 paintings. She was a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts. In 1902 she was in a group show at the Galerie Berthe Weill with Matisse, Marquet, and Flandrin, she exhibited there regularly in the years after. In 1908 she was in a group exhibition with Metzinger, Marie Laurencin, and Flandrin, again at Galerie Berthe-Weill. In 1909 she had her first exhibition at the Galerie Druet, where she showed regularly for many years alongside Rouault, Matisse, de la Fresnaye, and many others. She took part in the first Salon d’Automne in 1903 along with Matisse. In 1911 at the Salon D’Automne, the critic Apollonaire proclaimed her work to be the most interesting in the show. In 1913 she exhibited at the famous New York Armory Show in the same salon as Matisse and Van Dongen. During the war she looked after the children of fellow artists who had been called to service. Her work was shown in Venice and Kyoto, Pittsburgh and Barcelona.
Marval’s paintings are provocative and edgy, challenging and unusual, she was an important modernist at the earliest moments of the movement. Her paintings from just after the turn of the 20th century are a mix of realism, Fauvism and Expressionism. Her friend and next-door neighbor was Kees Van Dongen, her works are closely related to his, though she preceded him in exploring the freedom of style they both exhibited. Her relationship with Matisse, both in friendship and collaborator, cannot be over emphasized. If there is a reason other than her gender that Marval has not been deemed by history as one of the great masters it would take some effort to discern. She was judged for many of the greatest artists as their equal, and the critics too, while always certain to remark on her femininity, respected her and even hailed her work.
In recent years there have been several retrospective exhibitions of Marval’s paintings, in London and Paris. In 1989 her works were included in l’Exposition 150 Ans de Peintre Dauphinoise at the Château de la Condamine.
There is a web site devoted to her work: www.jacqueline-marval.com.