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Born in Lyon in 1918, the child and the adolescent Henri-André Martin spent his youth in Saint-Étienne, his father, Edme Martin, first installed as a practicing doctor in Lyon, having been appointed doctor of the anti-tuberculosis dispensaries of the Loire. Although pampered by his parents and particularly by his mother, he is very bored in Saint-Étienne, being neither athletic nor passionate about literature. This relative boredom, according to him, favored a contemplative tendency and his vocation as a painter. He wrote about this in 1981: "What a splendid school it is to develop in oneself what may be hidden, to learn to look, to love the simplest things". He applied this principle to the education of his children, sport being considered at home as an activity, if not culpable, at least of little rewarding.
Contemplative but active, he wanted to paint which was his vocation. A vocation which had been encouraged by Joseph Lamberton, a painter and sculptor from Saint-Etienne, and by Henry Grosjean, who agreed to come and give him painting lessons during the summer on the Bresse family estate in Jasseron. Once his baccalauréats in hand, he wanted to enroll in the Beaux-Arts in Paris, but for that he had to leave the Rhône-Alpes region to go to the capital, which in his mother's eyes was a place of "perdition. ". Faced with his parents' sorrow at seeing their child leave, he was weak enough to give up and regretted it for a long time.
During his first years of studying medicine in Lyon, he nevertheless enrolled in the Beaux-Arts. Appointed hospital intern upon his return from captivity in 1942, he ended his medical career as director of the otolaryngology university clinic at Édouard-Herriot hospital. But painting was his passion.
Painting was for Henri-André Martin the way of expressing his feelings. By nature very reserved and of an extreme modesty that many took for coldness, it was what allowed him to express his strong artistic sensitivity and, his pictorial periods are as many reﬂects of his anxieties, of his hopes, of his joys. At every period of his life, wherever he goes and whenever he has a moment, he paints gouaches, often of small size, but sometimes of larger size. He also paints beaches that have been compared to those of Boudin. Their invoice shows, however, that this figure is only appearance and that in fact, these beaches made of water, sky and sand, readily dispense with the motif, the work of the material seeming to have more importance. as the subject. Despite the fact that until the 1970s he painted "on the ground", his canvases remain far removed from the anecdote. Often harsh like the landscapes of Provence, the Parisian walls which express concern, or the railways, the switch tracks which suggest, in ocher and black, all the embarrassment of choice. We find the same nostalgic gravity in the canvases of the carcasses of boats which, as his friend Louis Pons later wrote, "seem to die of immobility" or in the canvases of Venice, or the landscapes of Eygalières.
In the following years, his painting became simpler, more synthetic, such as these landscapes with tortured almond trees, black and gnarled olive trees, plane trees standing out against the ocher sky of the dawn of Provence, in winter. These are also the canvases of Hamburg in the dough becomes heavier, the colors darken, marking all the gravity of the port landscapes. Workshop work gradually takes precedence over motif painting.
The pivotal period coincides with that of his work on the olive tree, during which he leads the realization of the "Trunks", a collection of six lithographic plates, of the book L'olivier comprising many lithographs and serigraphs, but also texts. poetic and numerous paintings. He then became passionate about everything related to the olive tree (literature, painting, traditions, history), but also to the tree itself, its thousand-year-old history, its poetry, its symbols, but also its culture, its size. oil production and mills, a passion that he will keep for the rest of his life. This work on the olive tree allowed him to achieve wide simpliﬁcations. Hence paintings with a symbolist character, in which one has the impression that the goal is not to represent this or that tree, but to summarize in an emblem, trunk, leaf and sky, the civilization of the olive tree. René Déroudille wrote about them in 1976: "There is a lyrical sap there which carries the artist along and pushes him to define the trees of dear Provence in a different way." The ancestor "and especially the plates devoted to embrace and renewal, in poetry de ﬁ nes the action of an artist who is also in full mutation ".
The following years were marked by intense pictorial activity and the realization in the studio and from sketches on patterns, large canvases very often colored which were the subject of a major exhibition in 1988 at the Maison de Lyon. Bernard Gouttenoire wrote in Hebdo Lyon in June 1979 on this subject: “The fields of colza or lavender abundantly filling the canvas frame. . ..There could be "monotony" by practicing large flat areas, but precisely this is not the case and we never get tired of so many sublimated colors ".
In the 1980s, Provence and especially the Alpilles, which had long been privileged themes, presented him with an intense source of inspiration and an evolution towards much more abstract canvases. These same years are marked by the realization of large nudes which with the Alpilles and other colored canvases are the subject of a major exhibition at L'Atrium in Lyon in 1992. During this period of the 1990s, he worked in the studio intensely, embarks on series, often abstract and undoubtedly necessary for its expression. René Déroudille wrote in 1992: “. . . he wants to go to the end of his work, that is to say to bring to their conclusion the shapes and colors born of his creative imagination. . . Slowly but surely, he arrived at a sort of plenitude, at the satisfaction of the task finally accomplished ... Absolutely apart from the Lyon school, he seems unpretentious, reveling in an active solitude, where he feels close to his desires ”. Gradually, however, he dealt with more attractive, almost decorative subjects, such as Japanese flowers and butterflies. It takes up old themes with a frankly ﬁgurative style: bouquets of ﬂowers, still lifes, landscapes of Eygalières.In 1995, the first health accident occurred, followed by a long hospital stay. When he was released from the hospital, he began to paint again, but the theme became more severe, even tragic. He then produced a series devoted to the Calvary of Christ on the cross through the journey of his crown of thorns about which Alain Vollerin would write in 1996 throughout Lyon: ". . . his dexterity takes us towards a rediscovery of the carrying of the Cross, towards a more intimate rewriting of this pictorial universe which wins our support ”. The last years of his life will be marked by a fierce and exemplary fight against the disease. He will paint until his last breath. Did he not say in his conference of 1988 at the Institute of the History of Medicine in Lyon on "Medicine and painting - What steps? ":" When the dif ﬁ culty of being grows harder, when aging risks becoming a severe test or more generally when a certain taste for life is lost, carried away by the painful twists and turns of existence, that is what painting is for . ... Painting helps to live as medicine sometimes helps to survive ”?
His friends were mostly artists. We can first quote Joseph Lamberton, Henry Grosjean and Pierre Eugène Montézin because they strongly encouraged and inﬂuenced the adolescent. Then, Pierre Pelloux, who was at the same time a teacher, a friend and a patient with extraordinary courage. Very ill, he wrote about his retrospective in 1975 at the Maison de Lyon: "Professor Martin, always him, and good friends did all the work ...". Jean Carlotti, seducer of eternal youth, Jean Fusaro, André Cottavoz, Jacques Truphémus, among the leaders of the Lyonnaise school regularly exhibited at the Malaval gallery, gallery which belonged to Henri-André Martin and including his wife Anne - Marie was the director. Bernard Buffet was for him one of the great painters of his time. He bought one of his works at the expense of buying a car. After getting to know him, his tragic end came as a big shock to him. I would also like to quote Mario Prassinos and Roland Oudot who painted in Eygalières. Henri de Waroquier, Camille Hilaire, Louis Pons and Michel Ciry. The latter two, very close friends with very different personalities, have in turn spent long stays in his house in Eygalières. Joseph Alessandri, his neighbour, and Jean Cardot, perpetual secretary of the Institut de France, were dearest friends, but many more should be mentioned. The meeting and then the friendship with Jean Souverbie are a good illustration of his personality. One day his then intern Jacques Oudot, future cultural assistant in Lyon, they attended an endless session of the French ENT Society at the Saints-Pères medical school, he suggested that he visit Souverbie who lived at the Institut de France in David's former studio near rue des Saints-Pères. This one gives them an appointment the same evening, it was in October 1966. Martin tells him all his admiration which verifies led to acquire several of his paintings formerly at Bernheim and proposes to him to make an exhibition at the Malaval gallery. Sovereign, who painted much less, mainly because of consecutive financial woes, in particular when the Galerie Bernheim closed after the Wall Street Crash and the war of 1939, was convinced. Due to an invalid illness, he found a second youth, resumed painting with ardor, encouraged to know that he was going to have perhaps new amateurs and reassured especially by what Martin brought him interest and security, allowing this major painter to gradually take back the place he should never have left. Henri-André Martin had the same approach with Jean Piaubert, who after having exhibited around the world, was a little forgotten. He meets her, becomes his friend, offers to exhibit at the Malaval gallery, buys many of his works, publishes the serigraphs intended to illustrate the works of the artist realizing the decor of the creation of the world, a ballet whose music was signed, Darius Milhaud.
Throughout his life he bought and collected works, mostly from his painter friends, promoting them, either personally or through exhibitions held at the Malaval Gallery. The workshops of his house at 44, boulevard des Belges in Lyon were open to all artists. In his house in Eygalières, another workshop is emerging facing the Alpilles. The Parisian studio on rue du Saint-Gothard was next to that of sculptor Jean Cardot, a very close friend and, working there gave him intense joy, this Parisian accommodation also allowing him to attend sessions of the Académie des Beaux- Arts of which Jean Cardot is the perpetual secretary.
Prizes and distinctions
1964: Maurice Utrillo Prize
Out of competition, then medal of honor from the Société lyonnaise des Beaux-Arts
Member of the Salon du Sud-Est until his death in 2004.
Drawing and water painting fair, Paris
Member of the Salon of the National Society of Fine Arts, Paris
Member of the Salon d'Automne, Paris
Correspondent of the Institut de France.
1962 : Galerie Chardin (Paris)
1965 : Musée de l’Athénée (Genève)
1965 : Château de la Jansonne (Cavaillon)
1971—2000 : Galerie Malaval (Lyon)
1973 : Château de la Jansonne (Cavaillon)
1978 : Chapelle du Grand Couvent (Cavaillon)
1979 : centre d’art contemporain de Lacoux
1981 : Galerie Visconti (Paris)
1987 : Foire d’Art Contemporain de Rillieux (Rhône)
1988 : Maison de Lyon (Lyon)
1992 : Artrium (Auditorium Maurice Ravel) Lyon
1992 : Galerie Braquahage d Honfleur
1996 : Fondation Léa et Napoléon Bullukian (Lyon)
2008 : Fondation Léa et Napoléon Bullukian (Lyon)
Toiles exposées dans de nombreuses galeries étrangères :
Musée national d'art contemporain
Musée de la Ville de Lyon
Musée de Rodez
Numerous serigraphs and lithographs (Mourlot workshop, then Dejobert in Paris, Badier workshop in Lyon, André Dupertuis workshop in Eygalières); collection of six plates entitled The Trunks and especially The Olive Tree, a work produced in the purest tradition of Grand Books; edition of top bibliophile books: The bestiary of insects by Jean Vasca and Joseph Alessandri, Le Lyon by René Déroudille and Jean Carlotti, La Création du Monde by Jean Piaubert.
Book Van Gogh's disease - The mystery of a tragic end, book published by Buchet / Chastel in 1994 . This book synthesizes my father's interest in medicine and his passion for painting. The book deals with the life of Van Gogh and the genesis of his genius, his emotional environment, his character and his behavior, elements that allow us to understand the origins of his illness and probably of his death. Partly written from the thesis work of one of my students, Doctor Christèle GandiéEspalieu, it totally refutes the Menière disease hypothesis, put forward by Arenberg in the United States, like that of schizophrenia retained by many authors. It shows all the relevance of the work of Henri Gastaut, in 1956, for whom Van Gogh suffered from visual and auditory hallucinations due to partial epilepsy with psychomotor symptoms, itself favored by wormwood intoxication. He also wonders about the painter's cause of death, not ruling out the hypothesis of an accidental end.