Roger Bissière (1886-1964)
Roger Bissière was born September 22, 1886 in Villeréal (Lot-et-Garonne). He moved to Bordeaux with his family in 1901. Two years later he began to paint. His father, a notary, did not approve of this vocation, wishing his son would study law. Confident in his desire to be an artist, Roger Bissière left France to spend a year in Algeria, where he worked alongside painter Georges-Antoine Rochegrosse.
Upon his return in 1905, he enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux where he visited the studio of Paul Quinsac, before moving to Paris in 1910. After a visit to Gabriel Ferrier’s studio at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, he began to talk about exhibiting in the Salon de la Société des artistes français in the Grand Palais, and at the Salon d’Automne. He became friends with other painters of the Parisian avant-garde, such as Georges Braque and André Lhote. Alongside his painting practice, he published articles in L’Opinion, Le Voltaire, Paris-Midi, L’Action Quotidienne and Le Siècle. He drove an ambulance for the Red Cross during the war up until he had an automobile accident.
Upon his return, he became one of the most important figures at the new École in Paris. In an article published in L’Opinion, he wrote that cubism is ‘an advantageous reaction, a call to order, in a moment when painting hopelessly confined itself to idiotic imitation.’ In 1921, Galerie Paul Rosenberg exhibited twenty of his paintings. This was Bissière’s first solo exhibition.
In 1932 Galerie Druet formed a group of painters comprising Roger Bissière, André Favory, Odette des Garets, Paul-Élie Gernez, Walter Gimmi, André Lhote, Robert Lotiron, Henri Malançon, Simon-Lévy and Maurice Utrillo. Each of the following years until 1937 the gallery exhibited the works of these painters. During this period and until 1939, Bissière also taught painting at the Académie Ranson, notably, creating a studio dedicated to fresco.
In the end of the 1930’s the artist moved into the house he inherited from his mother in Lot-et-Garonne, thus distancing himself from the Parisian scene. In 1937, he participated in the International Exhibition of Arts and Techniques of Paris; he decorated, with Bertholle, Le Moal, and Manessier, the railway pavilion. Then during the war the artist stopped painting.
After the Liberation, he varied his practice, creating tapestries out of recycled materials, representing human and animal figures surrounded by decorative motifs. ‘A painting, whether it is in oil or water, whether it is made of cloth, cement, plaster, or mud, has but one significance: the quality of he who created it, the poetry that he carries in himself,’ Bissière explained.
In the 1950s he became interested in egg-based painting. He exhibited his canvases ‘Quelques images sans titre’ (Several untitled images) in Galerie Jean-François in 1951. Jean-François continued to exhibit Bissière’s work for the rest of his life. Several years later in 1954 Roger Bissière returned to oil painting. He explored new media from 1958, designing stained-glass windows for two churches in Switzerland. Several years later in 1964, Bissière represented France at the Venice Biennale, exhibiting canvases and tapestries and earning honourable mention by the jury. He died December 2, 1964, several months after his last exhibition at Galerie Jeanne-Bucher. ‘For me, a painting is not valid unless it has a human quality, unless it suggests something and reflects the world in which I live.’
(Pauline Le Gall)read more >>
read more >>
read more >>
Art works from Roger Bissière
You may also be interested in…