This website is non-commercial. The featured work is not for sale. You can share pictures and texts free of charge to help make the painter known, provided you respect his signature and cite his name, but not for commercial ends. In the same spirit, you're welcome to send us pictures of your own Marcel l'Enfant paintings (facebook or mail firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want them to be on this website.
This virtual museum was created for you to discover the painter's work. Long after Eugene Boudin and Claude Monet, Marcel l'Enfant painted picturesque lanscape compositions that can be called impressionistic, even if he rarely worked directly outdoors. He appeared on the Bénézit from 1948 to 1976.
Marcel L'ENFANT was born in Paris on 8 December 1884, and died in Franconville on 25 January 1963. He lived in Franconville, North of Paris with his wife from 1923 to 1963. His final years were difficult because he was going blind.
He was the pupil of Edmond Eugène VALTON, professor at the Ecole Germain Pilon, who was president of the Society of Independent Artists (1889-1908). As from 1912, he attended the Salon des Indépendants every year, as well as many exhibitions in Paris, in the provinces and abroad. One of his works was acquired by the French government in 1936, but it disappeared from national inventories.
If you had stopped in front of the "Buisson" at 133 (then 227) of the Chaussée Jules César in Franconville, you would have seen through the thick foliage of the private park, the canopy- window of his workshop. It was there, in this peaceful and poetic background, far from chapels and cenacles, near his beloved wife, enlightened witness of his research, that the painter worked. His house and park no longer exist today. Rarely artist has been so uninterested in fame and glory. He modestly pursued his task, perfecting his art every day, believing that nothing good can be done without hard work. He loved his job.
In addition to his passion for the forest, he was by atavism (his parents came from Granville in Normandy) a worshipper of the sea. During his trips to Brittany and to Provence, he wrote beautiful and inspired notes for his paintings. And in the quiet of his house, he recreated the lively fishing ports and lanscapes of Armoric country with contrasted tones, and of the coast of the French Riviera with chatoying colors.
Let us listen to Mr. Hoffmann-Eugène, renowned art critic and founder of the "guest book of painters-exhibitors" (ancestor of the Bénézit) said about Marcel l'Enfant around 1935 : "The painter knows how to adapt with remarkable flexibility to the different atmospheres, to release the character, the skeleton and the very soul of all these landscapes of so varied presentation. He is supported by a profession, which for Marcel L'Enfant, has no secrets, and this, I believe, strengthens its success with the public. It ranks among our best current mariners, producing effects colors of a good harmony without ever exceeding the note of distinction and good tone which indicates a weighted mind, a brush always master of his effects, in a word a well-balanced talent. We appreciate here the masterful effort of a sincere artist whose work remains most interesting to browse and analyze in all its details". Gouaches, watercolors or oils presented here to side of sketches and other drawings express, with as much concision that of charm poetry of water and sky. But even if the sea was the artist's favourite subject, he also found great inspiration in the sceneries of Île de France where he lived.
This website, which contains more than 400 pictures of Marcel l'Enfant's paintings, was created in August 2013 at the turn of the hundred and thirtieth anniversary of the painter's birth and the fiftieth anniversary of his death. The works published here come mainly from the collection of a branch of his family. He owes a lot also to Mrs Danièle MILLS (from Guidel), thanked here, who kindly allowed access to the painter's artist's collection, containing many sketches and precious biographical documents, acquired by his father after the deaths of Marcel and Jeanne L'ENFANT.
The site is also greatly indebted to Nicolas PARIS and Adélie CASTEL (both from Caen), the first, excellent computer scientist, being its talented technical creator, and the second having brought an attractive aesthetic vision, while being the author of the best shots. Thanks also to the site "The Virtual Museum of the Island of Bréhat" which features some works of Marcel L'ENFANT.
Fair winds, but first a poem!
THE FISHERMEN AND THE PAINTER
The ship was leaving her familiar harbor
To search offshore hopes by the thousands,
while the crew watched the families
whose eyes thought only of the return of the keel,
and the moles and thoughts leaned toward the heavens,
and the ocean made sailors silent,
paralyzed by old dripping fears
which precede the furious onslaught of breakers,
invading the ships making them heavy,
and precipitating the men in the deaf seabed.
Then at the languid pace of a serene sea,
and as freed from an invisible chain,
the men focused on unrolling the nets,
and the reassured painter could, without blinking,
capture freehand the swing of the sails
following the vaulted silhouettes on their canvases,
hands, feet and body playing with gravity
in spite of uncertain jolting convulsions,
shrinking as the coasts moved away,
and as the trawl was brought with its guests.
And for a short time, the fellows froze,
turned to the brilliant Sky that directed them,
thanking him for the rich and precious fishing,
before pulling the halyards with a rough hand
to fill the boat's headdresses with a breeze
swollen with the honor of bringing back the burden
and a bald artist with fragile sketches,
whose seamen finally contemplated the smooth features,
broken, rough or sharp, where they recognized
postures and profiles of the work that was born.