Ker-Xavier Roussel

Born in 1867, François-Xavier Roussel, better known as Ker-Xavier Roussel, is a modern French artist. He was educated at the renowned Lycée Condorcet in Paris, where he met his friend and future great painter Edouard Vuillard and Maurice Denis. Deciding to become a painter, he took classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and then at the Académie Julian where he also met Pierre Bonnard. It was there that the famous Nabis group was formed in 1888, guided by Paul Gauguin’s ideas of synthetism and formed under the impetus of Paul Sérusier. Ker-Xavier Roussel was part of this movement between 1890 and 1896. He produced both paintings and theatre sets, notably for the symbolist theatre of the Nabis’ friend, Lugné-Poe. In 1897, the art dealer Ambroise Vollard took him on.

At the turn of the century, Roussel moved away from the Nabi style to compositions centred around mythological themes, with lighter colours inspired by his trip to the Côte d’Azur. He dedicated the last forty years of his life to these representations of fables, nymphs, satyrs and nature. Outside of his studio, he executed sets for several buildings such as the Fine Arts Museum in Winterthur, the curtain of the Champs-Elysées theatre, Monteux’s villa in Antibes, M. Rosegart’s hotel, the Palais de la Société des Nations in Geneva and the Chaillot theatre with Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. Roussel died at the age of 76 in 1944 in his house in L’Etang-la-Ville.

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