Malherbe is highly considered among the leaders of Post Impressionism and Fauvism, on both sides of the Atlantic. His major breakthrough came after exhibiting at the famous Salon d’Automne in Paris in 1930, where he was discovered by the prestigious Galerie Durand Ruel, which had launched the careers of great Impressionists such as Renoir, Monet and Pissarro. His style was influenced not only by fluid brushwork of Renoir, but by the saturated tonalities and bold color contrasts of Bonnard.
In 1939, Malherbe emigrated to the United States, and his exhibition of paintings at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC was a huge success. His paintings were acquired by many public and private collections, and he took delight in depicting scenes in Vermont and Gloucester as he traveled along the East Coast. He returned to Paris after the war, where he continued to be prolific.
Malherbe’s sumptuous depiction of a lush garden scene has all the luminosity and freshness of a summer day. A large platter of fruit sits atop a table, whose lavender and pinkish hues seamlessly transition to a halo of color that highlights a seated woman in the background. The dazzling sunlight transforms the pictorial surface into a kaleidoscope of vivid tonalities, and the rapid brushwork adds vibrancy and rhythmic energy to the composition.
Franco-American artist (1884-1951)
'Bowl of Fruit in a Garden'
Oil on canvas,
26 x 32 in.
Corcoran Gallery, Washington DC;
Museum of Modern Art, Paris
Jean Cassou: William Malherbe, Tisne Publications, Paris, 1948