GROMAIRE Marcel
Gromaire was born in 1892 in Noyelles-sur-Sambre July 24, 1892. His father was French and his mother Belgian. In 1910 he frequents the ateliers of Montparnasse where he meets Matisse's pupils, and receives advice from Le Fauconnier of the Académie de la Palette. He was wounded in the First World War in 1916, in the Battle of the Somme. An opponent of theories, Gromaire has remained outside all schools. Nevertheless, his art has generally followed the lines of an expressionism that is far removed from the pathological form this movement has taken in Scandinavia and Germany; his is an expressionism that reflects the inspiration of the Romanesque and Gothic primitives. Gromaire has generally taken the subjects of his most significant compositions from the life of the peasant or workman. Although any strictly naturalistic expression is foreign to his canvases, the most moving of them show a very great decorative talent. And if he has often borrowed from Cézanne or Seurat, it is because he has tried primarily to make his in conform to strict rules of composition. Whether he paints smugglers or fishermen, beer-drinkers or card-players, Gromaire subjects his themes to exacting graphic formulas. Nothing is more significant in this respect than his canvas entitled War ( 1925), where, excluding the picturesque and scorning the anecdotal, he gives himself up to the vision of a monumental universe that is rigorously exact. In this sense his art approaches that of the fresco, and it is not surprising that Gromaire is among the contemporary revivers of tapestry ( The Four Elements, The Four Seasons). Adapting his palette to the necessary synthesis, he has chosen sober, rugged, dramatic and powerful colours, with browns, ochres, greys and greens predominating, and more recently reds and greyblues. In his latest works Gromaire seems to have freed himself from say remaining traces of stylization, and to be taking new liberties with a reality that is more and more detached.
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