Henri Gervex France

12-10-1852 Paris, FRA – 6-7-1929 Paris, FRA

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Gervex, Henri

A friend of the family had Henri Gervex admitted to the studio of the painter Pierre-Nicolas Brisset in 1867, he was 15 years old. He studied painting under Alexandre Cabanel, Pierre-Nicolas Brisset and Eugène Fromentin.
His early work belonged almost exclusively to the mythological genre, which served as an excuse for the painting of the nude, but not always in the best of taste. Henri Gervex's Rolla of 1878, considered his masterpiece, was rejected by the jury of the Salon de Paris for immorality, since it depicted a scene from a poem by Alfred de Musset of a naked prostitute after having sex with her client. The same reasons as Olympia by Manet was rejected: representing a prosaic nude in a contemporary setting. He instead exhibited it at the art dealer Bague, where the crowd is pressing to get a look. He had the satisfaction, shortly before his death in 1929 to see his Rolla enter the Luxembourg Museum.
Henri Gervex afterwards devoted himself to representations of modern life and achieved signal success with his Dr Péan at the Salpétrière ("The Operation"), a modernized paraphrase, as it were, of Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson.
Henri Gervex was entrusted with several important official paintings and the decoration of public buildings. He also painted, with Alfred Stevens, a panorama, The History of the Century (1889). The Musée du Luxembourg holds his painting Satyr Sporting with a Bacchante, as well as the large Members of the Jury of the Salon (1885). In 1913 he was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. He travelled to many countries where he received many titles and medals.

Art Movement: Academic
Alexandre Cabanel, Pierre-Nicolas Brisset, Eugène Fromentin
Travelled: Spain, England, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Turkey
Jacques-Émile Blanche, Georges Dubosc, Henry Gerbault
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