Georges Antoine Rochegrosse, French (1859 - 1938)

 

French painter, printmaker and illustrator. Stepson of the poet Théodore de Banville, he came from a literary and artistic background. He received his early training from Alfred Dehodencq and later studied at the Académie Julian under Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre. Rochegrosse was one of the most popular Salon painters at the end of the 19th century.

From 1882 he exhibited large-scale historical paintings drawn from the Bible and Classical mythology and reconstructed with meticulous archaeological detail (e.g. Vitellius Dragged through the Streets of Rome, 1882; Sens, Mus. Mun.). His preference for dramatic scenes of violent excess and carnage was endorsed by official taste when in 1887 his Death of Caesar (1887; Grenoble, Mus. Peint. & Sculp.) was acquired by the State. He also painted murals in the library of the Sorbonne, Paris (1898). Extensive travel in Egypt and North Africa encouraged his use of a rich, often garish palette and vigorous handling (e.g. Oriental Musician; Moulins, Mus. Moulins).

Rochegrosse gained medals at the Salons of 1882 and 1883 and in 1888 was awarded the Salon prize. He was made Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in 1892 and an Officer in 1910.

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