Marcel Gromaire

Ackermans Fine Art

Marcel Gromaire was a French artist who painted many works on social subjects, and is often associated with Social Realism. Gromaire, whose father was an educator in Paris, was born in Noyelles-sur-Sambre, France. He studied classically at Douai, then continued his studies in Paris, receiving his Baccalauréat in Law in 1909, a judiciary career path he quickly abandoned. He frequented studios in Montparnasse. In 1912, he performed his military service in Lille when the war began and spent the next six years in the army and was wounded in 1916 in the Battle of the Somme.

Marcel Gromaire

by Ida Kar, vintage bromide print, late 1960s

Gromaire returned to Paris, working in a Paris studio, his subject matter of rich dark ochers and browns in his paintings in an ordered wealth of textural sensation when transferring the reality of his studio and its light and contents, onto his canvases. Marcel Gromaire used his studio as a standard, a filter; it was more than just a place to paint.

A meeting with the collector, Dr. Girardin, established his career as an artist when he purchased the entirety of the work of Gromaire. When Dr. Girardin died in 1953, the Museum of Modern Art in Paris received 78 oil paintings as well as a collection of watercolors.

In 1933, A retrospective at the Kunsthalle de Baie established the importance of his body of works. In 1937, his work was exhibited by orders of the State at Paris Exposition Internationale.  From 1939-1944, he resided at Aubusson and participated in the renewal of the tapestry movement with Jean Lurcat. He was named a professor at the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs from 1950 until 1962.

Marcel Gromaire relocated to the United States and became a member of the Jury for the Carnegie Prize, which went to Jacques Villon that year. The prize was awarded to him in 1952. In 1954, he was made commander of the Légion d’honneur and two years later, obtained the National Guggenheim prize and in 1958, The Grand Prix National des Arts. He died in Paris.