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 Marthe Hirt  (1890 - 1984)

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Lived/Active: France/Switzerland      Known for: portrait, figure, landscape and still life painting

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Ad Code: 4
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from Auction House Records.
Portrait de jeune femme
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Biography from Papillon Gallery:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Marthe Hirt


Marthe Hirt was born on February 4, 1890 in Liege, Belguim. She was a painter and draughtsman of figures, portraits, landscapes, and still-lifes, active in France and Switzerland.

Hirt’s family originally came from Switzerland. She began painting in 1915, and then enrolled in David Estoppey’s life class at the Geneva art school. After the war, she settled in the Montparnasse district of Paris and enrolled in the Académie Ranson, where she was taught by Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier, and Pierre Bonnard.

Hirt’s work shows a great sense of unity between her three main subjects. Her figures – kitchen boys, clowns, young monks, and girls – are almost always presented in isolation against a neutral background, after the manner of Chaim Soutine or Moise Kisling. In her still-lifes, baskets containing a few intermediate fruits and vegetables are presented on a napkin or a sketchy table, in dim light, or rather in semi-darkness. Her landscapes, wherever they are painted, are completely un-individualized; the elements and reliefs are synthesized into blocks, as with Paul Cézanne, but in quite different rhythmic and chromatic register. In all three types of subject, Hirt’s painting is reclusive and secretive.

She exhibited once at the Salon des Indépendants during the 1920s, and at the Salon des Tuileries in 1930. She went off to paint landscapes in Brittany, Ancy-le-Franc in Burgundy and Mayenne. She exhibited in solo shows in Paris in 1942-1944, 1948, and again in 1977, although she abandoned all artistic activity at the beginning of the 1950s. In 1980, the Manoir de Martigny, Switzerland organized a retrospective exhibition of 120 of her paintings.

Her atelier was sold at auction in Paris in 1989.

Hirt died on October 7, 1984. She is listed in the Benezit Dictionary of Artists.

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