Jean-Adrien MERCIER (Angers 1899 - Paris 1995)
Two Women in a Cemetery in Rabat, Morocco
Gouache and watercolour, over an underdrawing in pencil, within a black ink border. Signed and dated Jean A. Mercier – 5 – 22 – at the upper right, and inscribed Rabat at the upper left. Further dedicated, signed and dated by the artist a Madame Lecocq bien(?) affecteusement / souvenir de Maroc - Jean A. Mercier / - 5 - 22 - on the old backing sheet. Also inscribed (in a different hand) appartient a Madame Lecocq on the old backing sheet. 192 x 245 mm. (7 5/8 x 9 5/8 in.)ENQUIRE
The present sheet is dated May 1922, when Mercier was twenty-three years old. It is interesting to note that the young artist was visiting Morocco only a decade or so after the country had been opened up to foreign visitors. Unlike Tunisia or Algeria, Morocco remained largely closed to foreigners throughout the 19th century, until it was declared a French and Spanish protectorate in 1912. The French decided to move the capital from Fez to Rabat, a port town dominated by Barbary pirates since the 17th century. This drawing appears to depict a small cemetery on the Atlantic coast of Rabat, just north of the Kasbah des Oudaïas and to the north and east of the larger Cimitière As-Shouhada.
Given by the artist to a Mme. Lecocq, according to the inscription on the old backing sheet.