Adrien Marie was an outstanding engraver and draughtsman, who also created very good, original paintings. He was successful both in Paris and in London.
He also loved travelling; in 1891 he accepted a proposal to join as its draughtsman-engraver an expedition in W. Africa. He succumbed, completely exhausted, at his return in the port town of Cadiz, aged only 42. He probably left this painting unfinished at his departure for the dark continent.
About Adrien Marie
French painter, engraver and traveller
Neuilly-sur-Seine 1848 – 1891 Cadiz
Also called Adrien-Emmanuel Marie.
Pupil in Paris of:
- the Belgian engraver François Pennemaker;
- the French engraver-painter Emile Bayard (whose daughter he will later marry);
- the French painter Isidore Pils at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, following Pils’ return from a two-years stay in Algeria.
Adrien Marie was above all active as an engraver, illustrating books by Victor Hugo (“Les miserables”), Alphonse Daudet (“Les lettres de mon moulin”) and Jules Verne (“Un hiver dans les glaces”)). He also designed posters for theatre plays and his illustrations for newspapers and magazines were popular in Paris and in London.
Besides being active as an excellent draughtsman and engraver he travelled a lot and he also produced regularly paintings (reminding of James Tissot), not that many, but of very good quality and with rather original subjects, which he showed at the “Salon de peinture et de sculpture” of Paris, in 1866, 1881 and 1889.
In 1891 Marie accepted the offer of the French magazine L’illustration to join with their journalist Félix Dubois an expedition to West Africa, to French Guinea, where Henri-François Brosselard-Faidherbe would check if there was a possibility of making a railroad. That French colony, present-day Guinea, is formed of coastal plains, a plateau, mountains with springs of important rivers and tropical rainforests. The expedition got blocked by troops of Emperor Samory Touré of Wassoulou, who tried to resist to the French penetration and colonisation of W. Africa. Exhausted and ill Brosselard-Faidherbe and our Adrien Marie returned to Europe:
- Marie died at his arrival at the harbour of Cadiz in S. Spain at the age of 42;
- Brosselard-Faidherbe managed to reach France, but passed away two years later, aged 38.
About our painting
One can but guess how come that this painting was already signed by Adrien Marie, though it was unfinished. It think he signed this painting at his workshop when he left for Africa.
It represents a melancholic shepherd, vaguely reminding of the figure of Orpheus.