French painter


orn in Noyelles-sur-Sambres, in the North, Gromaire finished his secondary studies in Pari, from 1900 to 1910. He registered in the Law faculty, which he didn’t hesitate to abandon in order to devote himself exclusively to painting. He attended, as a liberal student, the different Académies de Montparnasse (Cotarossi, Ranson, and Palette). Mobilised in 1914, he was injured in 1916. It was then that he began to paint canvasses where he immediately found the style that he would remain faithful to all his life. His themes revolved around the peasant and the worker. He tastes brought him to Roman paintings, and the primitive French and Flemish. In the moderns, it was Cézanne and Seurat that captivated him.

Gromaire received recognition at the Salon des Indépendants, in 1925, when presenting his famous painting of La Guerre (both realist and symbolic representation of soldiers in a trench, of which the monumental aspect made sensation. Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris). In 1923, the Kunstmuseum of Bâle organised a large retrospective of his work.

During the International Exposition in 1937, Gromaire was in charge of the decor at the Pavillon de la Manufacture de Sèvres. From 1939, he was with Jean Lurçat, the initiator of the French tapestry revival : in reaction to the techniques in use, he recommended a return to the sources by the use of, as in the Middle Ages, the large point and a restricted number of tints. Gromaire created large hangings like La Flandre. He worked for Aubusson and Gobelin (Les quatres Éléments 1938-1939 ; Les Quatres Saisons). In 1948, he received an order for a large mural decoration for the Assemblée de l’Union Française destined to celebrate the abolition of slavery.

Gromaire is generally categorised amongst the Expressionists. However, the artist always fought being in this category, and never claimed any title other than “Classic.”

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