Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Roland Marie Gérardin, Prix de Rome 1933

Roland Marie Gérardin
French painter

Investigating portrait artist Marthe Antoine Gérardin in before posting I couldn’ t help stumbling over her name sake Roland Marie. I have no idea if this short lived artist was in any way related to Marthe Antoine. But intrigued by the paintings emerging from the internet I noticed the consistent style and expression, the use of paint and colour in the works by this artist. So what follows here is all I was able to find about and by this obscured and forgotten artist. 
He studied at the “Ecole des Arts Decoratifs” and later at the “Ecole des Beaux Arts” in Paris under Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921) although this master apparently died when Gérardin was 15. During his short life however Gérardin exhibited widely and won many medals and prizes including the prestigeous French Prix de Rome in 1933 after being runner-up in 1930 and 1931 (see also below).
The pictures of the paintings I was able to find (btw: three of them are currently on offer at a French galerie and in Ebay) show a preference for outdoor groups, the reclining (sleeping) nude in an atmosphere of mild erotic leisure in many of his few paintings. The title "femme alanguies" of one of them translated into english probably closest to the emotion he tries to evoke: an expression (or posture) assuming tender sentimental melancholy.

The inspiration of Eduard Manet’s (1832-1883) composition “Dejeuner sûr l’ herbe” painted in 1862/63 and causing scandal 70 years before cannot be missed. Gérardin of course knew the iconic reclining nudes of Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920). And there's his admiration of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) his women and the arrangement of their forms in complex compositions and perspective (below: the Hermit and Angelica)   
Susanne taking a bath and watched by the two conniving dirty old men ("elders") was a theme introduced in 15th century painting giving one of two Old Testament opportunities and excuses painting the naked female body (the other being Bathsheba, king Davids wife (read here * and here* ) 
Susanne by Gérardin (I could not locate a colour version of this painting) and by Venician painter Tintoretto (1518-1594). 
For reference and future Googling readers shown together in this posting are all the paintings I could find on-line by Gérardin to this date. Gérardin was awarded an exhibition in 1989 according to this poster, in St-Ouen, a district of greater Paris, showing his pottery decorations.

Roland Gérardin died suddenly of some form of aggressive (pancreatic?) cancer in 1935, only 28 years old, when staying in the Villa Medici after been awarded first price in the French Prix de Rome and the grant to study at the Academy Francaise in Italy. He was burried in Bréchamp just south and not far from the Paris where he was born only 28 years before. A year later (1936) fellow 1933 Prix de Rome (music) winner Robert Planel (1908-1994) created a musical composition in his memory (read here*)

Since composing this posting took quite some unsponsored time and effort, all comments after reading are, as always, very much welcomed. Comments are the Blogwriter's fuel. I can see the number of readers increasing but leaving a notice (comment) once in a while after visiting is not a common practice. 

All pictures borrowed freely from the internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.  


  1. Thanks for another interesting post! I usually read the posts in Google Reader and so don't pop on over to leave a comment... But your posts are much appreciated, keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you Sharon, comments like this are like a spring shower to any serious Blogger, the fuel and motivation to continue.

  2. Hi Gerrie,

    The pottery is wonderful. Do you know whether it was created during his lifetime. I also like the last image. So sad to die so young - he was just finding his talent.

    1. Good to hear tioy Karen and yes I suppose he created the pottery, definitely painted it. He was after all taught an Arts and Crafts artist. He followed the path of Mozart, Schubert, Friedrich Lissmann (look him up in the Blog), James Dean, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King and so many others, dying so young I mean.

  3. Lionel Gerardin11 June 2013 at 17:14

    I enjoy seeing my grand father's work. Many of his paintings have not been seen yet. Many "esquisses" left unfinished after his passing.
    He died from "Phtisie pulmonaire" a sort of fast tuberculosis, not from cancer. My father was 18 months old when he passed.

    1. Merci, thank you Lionel. I consider it a privilege you finding my humble Blog. I very much like the work of your grandfather. And so did many readers I'm confident. I did my best to unearth as many as I could and I would love to see his Susanne in color one day.

    2. Lionel Gérardin11 June 2013 at 21:47

      The pleasure is all mine. I am very humble by your interest and your readers. I feel a little guilty not to be on top of all the stories that are usually passed on from older generations. He accomplished a lot during his short life and you haven't seeing half of it.
      I should be able to find more material you may be interested in.

    3. Lionel, I would love to know all there is about him (without being nosy I mean) I had no idea he started a family in his short life. I love his work and maybe there's a follow up in it. Please feel free to continue emailing at

  4. Très bel article.
    Je suis à la recherche de tableaux de cet artiste.
    J'aimerais pouvoir en acquérir.
    Mon tél: 06 07 36 89 18 Bruno.
    N'hésiter pas à m'appeler. Merci.

  5. Très bel article.
    Je recherche des tableaux de cet artiste.
    Merci de me répondre si vous avez des pistes...
    Mon tél: 06 07 36 89 18.

    1. Merci, thank you Bruno. I will be happy to let you know if I hear anything more concerning Gérardin.