Augustus John OM
The Little Railway, Martigues 1928

Artwork details

Augustus John OM 1878–1961
The Little Railway, Martigues
Date 1928
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 470 x 546 mm
frame: 616 x 706 x 86 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by Lady Henry Cavendish-Bentinck 1940
Not on display

Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘John’ b.l.
Canvas, 18 1/2×21 1/2 (46×55).
Bequeathed by Lady Henry Cavendish-Bentinck 1940.
Coll: Purchased by Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck from Arthur Tooth & Sons 1929.
Exh: Arthur Tooth & Sons, April–May 1929 (7 or 23: ‘The Little Railway Martigues’ 1 and 11); Temple Newsam, Leeds, July–August 1946 (48).
Lit: T. W. Earp, ‘The Recent Work of Augustus John’ in Studio, XCVII, 1929, pp.231–2; John, 1952, pp.104–8, 257–64.
Repr: Apollo, IX, 1929, p.203; Rothenstein, 1944, pl.87.

Martigues, a little town in Provence, is situated half-way between Arles and Marseilles. John tells us that Provence ‘had been for years the goal of my dreams’ and Martigues was, of all the towns there, the one for which he had most affection. John travelled round Provence in search of the ideal place: ‘With a feeling that I was going to find what I was seeking, an anchorage at last, I returned from Marseilles, and, changing at Pas des Lanciers, took the little railway which leads to Martigues. On arriving my premonition proved correct: there was no need to seek further.’

The other version of ‘The Little Railway’ which was exhibited with the Tate Gallery picture in 1929 is a larger picture and includes more landscape to the left of the railway; in 1957 it was owned by the Adams Gallery, London. This or a third picture was exhibited at Agnew's, Contemporary British Artists, November–December 1930 (18).

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

About this artwork