CHASTEL Roger
Born at Paris March 25, 1897. Studies with Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian. On leaving the atelier he does political and literary caricatures. Awake to the atmosphere of the time, if he admires Braque and uses him as an example, as does Modigliani at a time, he knows also what he owes to Matisse or Picasso (especially baroque, it seems to him). He begins by doing Cubism and makes his start in 1926 with Max Berger (Galerie Vavin-Raspail). About 1929-1930, progressively returned to a more objective art, he undergoes a neo-realist period of very sensitive inspiration ( Les Enfants du Boulanger, 1932- 1934, Musée National d'Art Moderne). Beginning in 1939 he goes through a baroque phase, where the excess of forms is united with the exaltation of color. The Piano Lesson, 1946, achieves a sort of expressionism, but leans less to the excess of the character of the individual than to the exaltation of the intellectual and poetical theme. La Coiffure, 1945, in light flat grays, blues, mauves, greens and light yellows, marks a rigorousness of construction which responds in Chastel to the other side of his nature, and which shows him well on his way to his present period. His nature would be of an almost austere reserve in the color if, in the predominating deep tones, a strong spot did not always brighten the picture ( Herring and Pitcher, series 1949- 1954). This hieratism which Chastel has today achieved-"because it is lasting"--remains close to the figurative.
His searchings, sincere and complex, are those of a romanticist who dreams of classicism. Is it for this reason that, for nearly thirty years, Chastel works every day, near the noble windows of Louis XIV, in the place that he has chosen for himself at Saint-Germain-en-Laye? Supported in his beginning by Paul Guillaume, he exhibits at the Galerie Jeanne Castel, and afterwards at the Galerie Maeght, for whom he illustrates the Bestiaire of Paul Eluard in colored etching. He exhibits now at the Galerie Galanis. He was awarded the Grand Prix de la Peinture at the first Sâo Paulo Biennale in 1951. In the field of tapestry, Chastel gave the Gobelins in 1952 a large design The Fourteenth of July at Toulon.
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