BIOGRAPHY

JACQUES MAJORELLE (March 7, 1886 - October 14, 1962)

Jacques Majorelle, a French painter born in 1886 in Nancy, France, is the son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. Majorelle became a noted early modernist Orientalist painter, but is most remembered for constructing the villa and gardens that now carry his name, the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech.

Majorelle received his art education at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nancy in 1901 and later at the Académie Julian in Paris with Schommer and Royer. He first exhibited at the Salon de Beaux Artes in 1908. In around 1917 he travelled to Morocco to recover from heart problems and visited Marrakech, where he fell in love with the vibrant colors and quality of light he found there. Initially, he used Marrakech as a base for trips to Spain, Italy and other parts of North Africa, including Egypt but eventually he settled in Marrakech permanently. 

He drew inspiration for his paintings from his trips and from Marrakesh itself. His paintings include many street scenes, souks and kasbahs as well as portraits of local inhabitants. He opened a handicrafts workshop in Marrakech and also designed posters to promote travel to Morocco. His work was profoundly affected by his voyages around the Mediterranean and North Africa. He introduced a more colored vision, bathed in light where the drawing disappears and the image emerges from large spots of color laid flat. 

During Majorelle’s lifetime, many of Majorelle's paintings were sold to private buyers and remain in private collections. Some of his early works can be found in Museums around his birthplace such as the Musee de l'Ecole de Nancy. His later work can be seen in the Mamounia Hotel, Marrakesh, the French Consulate of Marrakech and in the Villa at the Majorelle Gardens.