Portugese fishing village

HENRI LAFFITE (1885 - 1977)

Nazaré – Fisherwomen waiting
for the return of the boats 

Painted circa 1930
Squared-up study in preperation
for a larger painting
Oil on board
12¾ x 20½ in / 32.5 x 52 cm

Nazaré is the famous fishing town in the Estremadura province of Portugal, 100 miles north of Lisbon, with long sandy beaches. The town used to be known for its traditional costumes worn by the fishermen and their wives who wore a traditional headscarf and embroidered aprons over seven flannel skirts in different colours. Their distinctive high- bow boats were moored on the sands, dragged up nightly by oxen, to be safe from the ferocity of the ocean.


Sold Ref: NPO849


HENRI LAFFITE (1885 1977)

Henri Laffite was born in Condom, south-west France, the son of a sculptor who encouraged the young Henri to follow in his profession by enrolling him at the age of 16 to study at the école des beaux-arts in nearby Toulouse. Henri quickly progressed to being accepted at the prestigious école des beaux-arts decoratifs in Paris where for a while he became a pupil of Rodin and befriended the young Picasso newly arrived in Paris. Whilst in the capital, Laffite was encouraged to develop his talent for oils by fellow Toulouse painter and sculptor Jean -Paul Laurens. Upon his return to Condom, he worked both as a sculptor in Carrera marble carving strong, academic figurative models very much to the style of the beginning of the 20th century, whilst also producing paintings in oil which showed his mastery of the use of light and colour in the landscapes and working people of the surrounding Gers.

Having undertaken his military service at Agen in 1906, Laffite signed up again during the First World War and was appointed as a chauffeur for eminent figures amongst whom were both Clémenceau and Pétain.The 1920s saw him painting both in Portugal and Paris producing marine scenes on the banks of the river Tagus, with exhibits often at the Salon des Arts Decoratifs.  Upon outbreak of war again with Germany Laffite spent his time painting at Thonan les Bains in the foothills of the Alps.   In 1947 he went back to Portugal for three years before moving to Sao Paulo where his understanding of the decorative arts gave him commissions to assist the glass makers for many of the Brazilian theatres and churches during the period of big construction and restoration of public buildings. In 1961 he returned back to his native Condom where he resided for the remainder of his life.