Victor Hugo & Henri Marret

This page presents :

  • A painting by Henri Marret « In the fields – Stormy weather » exposed in the town hall of Fourqueux (as well as the two paintings below)`
  • The so called « Victor Hugo house; from March to September 1836, Victor Hugo and his family rented the house, located rue de Saint-Nom. The poet’s daughter, Léopoldine, made her communion in the church of Fourqueux on September 8, 1836. During this period, several personalities of the time (Alexandre Dumas, Auguste de Chatillon, Théophile Gautier, etc.) came to Fourqueux to meet the writer. The residence is known for having hosted Victor Hugo’s family for a summer in 1836. Built in the 18th century, it was bought at the beginning of the 19th century by the Marret family. In 1918, the painter Henri Marret set up his studio there. It seems that it was between its walls that Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas were reconciled, after having been at odds for several years.

Book map : C

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La fontaine Saint-Michel
Retour des champs
SubjectHenri Marret, a passion for painting
LinkClick Here
OriginAssociation HM
Revision date22/07/2023

Henri Justin Marret was born in Paris in 1878. He was the son of a jeweller who designed his own models.

From a young age he became interested in painting and fine-arts, and studied under Cormon, Humbert and Thirion. From 1901, he exhibited regularly at the “Salon des Artistes Français”. 

In 1906 the State purchased one of his paintings for the French embassy in Lisbon.

In 1912, with Beaudouin he was initiated in the art of painting frescoes and rapidly becomes a recognised specialist. Maurice Denis his friend and neighbour said “Marret is the finest decorator of walls of his time.”

During the war which broke out in 1914 Henri Marret made sketches which he used later to create a series of etchings on wood to bear witness to the horrors that he had seen.

After the war Henri Marret contributed to the decoration of churches in the North of France during their renovation and created frescoes for numerous civil or religious memorial monuments.

He moved, in 1919, to the family home in Fourqueux (house in which Victor Hugo had lived for a period in 1836) and set up his workshop in a lodge in the grounds of the park, the lodge was nicknamed “Le Chalet”.

He painted numerous frescoes, including some very large, for town halls or private collections, and religious works, in particular the Stations of the Cross. Henri Marret lived his life in profound faith.

In 1923 Henri Marret was appointed Professor at the National School of Applied Arts where he worked for 20 years.

In 1925 Henri Marret participated in the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts with gigantic paintings and in particular four huge frescoes for the “Cour des Métiers”.

As well as his commissioned work, Henri Marret also created a lot of more personal works, watercolours, oil paintings, engravings, etchings and sketches during his trips to various regions in France and abroad.

Henri Marret illustrated a series of books by Henri Barjon and church bulletins with etchings.

Mayor of Fourqueux from 1937, Henri Marret managed his village during the difficult period of the occupation. 

Elected president of the “Société Nationale des Beaux Arts” in 1948, he remained president until 1960.

An important artist at a pivotal moment between two art movements, Henri Marret passed away in Fourqueux in the year 1964.