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Ker-Xavier Roussel

Life and work


Ker-Xavier Roussel was born on 10 December in Lorry-lès-Metz (Département Moselle). After a classical education at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he joined the Nabis group. It was at the Lycée Condorcet that he met Vuillard, who was to remain his lifelong friend. Roussel married Vuillard's sister Marie in 1893.

An artistic reorientation took place shortly before the turn of the century, when Roussel, under the influence of the Latin poets and Nietzsche's philosophy, devoted his painting to mythological themes. Although he remained a great colourist, he turned away from the aesthetic of the Nabis and moved towards post-impressionism with broad, vividly applied hatching.

He regularly took part in the Salon des Indépendants and the annual exhibition of Libre Esthétique, but also exhibited in prestigious galleries such as Bernheim-Jeune, Durand-Ruel, Louis Carré and Druet. He received numerous commissions from the public sector: in 1913 for the curtain of the Comédie at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, in 1917 for the staircase of the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, in 1936 for the Théâtre de Chaillot and in 1937 for the plenary hall of the League of Nations Palace.

His stays both in L'Étang-la-Ville, east of Paris, where he settled in 1899, and in the south of France, a region he explored after 1898, provided him with the background for his mythological tales - sometimes bathed in the light of the north, sometimes in that of the Mediterranean.

Ker-Xavier Roussel died on 5 June 1944 in his estate La Jacannette.

After his death, a number of retrospectives were dedicated to him, for example in 1965 at the Kunsthalle Bremen, in 1968 in Munich and Paris, and in 2019 at the Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny.

Exhibitions at Galerie Michael Werner
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Galerie Michael Werner

Hardenbergstr. 9a 
10623 Berlin 
Phone: +49 30 31491880 

Opening hours: 
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Saturday 10 - 16 h

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