Georges Antoine ROCHEGROSSE
(Paris, 1877 – Paris, 1951)
Tribute to Pharaoh
Oil on mahogany panel
Signed lower right
46 x 31,5 cm
Soon abandoned by his father, by the remarriage of his mother, he became the son-in law of Théodore de Banville. In this new family, intellectual and artistic circles, he first received the advice of Alfred Dehodencq. Then, twelve years old, at the Académie Julian, he was a pupil of Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre. Later he became himself an art teacher at the Académie Julian. While enjoying more liberal teaching of the Académie Julian, he entered the School of Fine Arts, where he was twice contest the Prix de Rome. In 1883, obtaining the Prix de Rome gave him a stay in Italy. In the following, he travelled in Belgium, Holland, Germany. Around 1890, Rochegrosse bound his life to that of Marie Leblond, who was his great love and model of the heroines of his paintings for thirty years. From 1900, Rochegrosse and Marie spent the winter months in El-Biar, on the heights of the Bay of Algiers, where the painter often found oriental decor of his compositions. In 1920, Miriam died; Rochegrosse sought appeasement with the Theosophical Society of France. In 1937, a year before his death, Rochegrosse married Antoinette Arnau. He died in El-Biar, his body was transferred to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris.
He started at the Salon of French Artists in 1882, with Vitellius dragged through the streets of Rome by the populace; received medals, third class in 1882, and the second class and Exhibition Award in 1883, he became an associate in 1887, bronze in 1889 for the Universal Exhibition, Medal of Honor in 1906, officer of the Legion of Honor in 1910. He was a permanent member of jury of the Salon. He also participated in the Salon of the French Watercolourists Society . In Algeria, he participated in the activities of the Salon of Algerian and Orientalist Artists, in the North Africa Artistic Union, in the Professional Union of Algerians Artists.
In the seventy years, he contributed to the journal La Vie Moderne of Emile Bergerat and other periodicals, including La Vie Parisienne. Rightly exploiting his narrative facilities and indisputable expertise, he illustrated literary works. In the same narrative vein, he also made murals for the stairs of the Library of the Sorbonne.
Growing up in the shadow of the Parnassus literary, venturing in the footsteps of Delacroix, in a first period, he dealt with subjects taken from Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine civilizations, where Banville helped replenish authentic details. The end of this period was marked by the huge success he obtained at the Salon with The Death of Babylon. Banville died in 1891, Rochegrosse was passionate for the Wagnerian mythology and painted: Meistersinger, Tannhäuser and Parsifal inspired him The Knight of Flowers. In a subsequent period, he treated allegorical themes: The Race to happiness, The Struggle for the ideal, Out of the sea of mud, and re-established with dramatic subject to historical foundation: The Assassination of Emperor Geta, Fire of Persepolis. Throughout his life with Marie Leblond, she was turn into empress, goddess, but also the simple model of small intimate paintings, which were only discovered at the dispersion of Rochegrosse studio. From 1900 and for winter stays in El-Biar, Rochegrosse loved choose topics favorable to exploiting the oriental landscapes where he lived. After the death of Mary, Rochegrosse devoted his talent to religious subjects and allegories of love.
His fame was international, to the extent of the ambition of his great historical compositions, mythological or literary. Conan Doyle, in Sherlock Holmes, praised one of his paintings.
Museums : Alger, Amiens, Grenoble (Mus. of Fine Arts), Leipzig, Lille (Mus. of Fine Arts), Montpellier (Fabre Mus.), Moulins, Mulhouse, Paris (Orsay Mus.), Paris (Victor Hugo Mus. ), Rouen, Sens…
Purchased by the Anne de Beaujeu Museum of Moulins