Henry de Groux
Henry de Groux (15 September 1866, Brussels – 12 January 1930, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode) was a Belgian Symbolist painter, sculptor and lithographer. His 1889 painting Christ attacked by a mob made when he was only 22 years old established his reputation as an innovative Symbolist painter and ensured his admission to the progressive artistic circles in Brussels. He spent most of his active career in Paris. He produced many works depicting the horrors of the First World War in the latter part of his career.
De Groux was the son of the painter and engraver Charles de Groux. Like his father, he trained at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Henry was elected a member of les XX in 1886, but was expelled in 1890 when he refused to have his works displayed in the same gallery as Vincent van Gogh.
De Groux subsequently moved to Paris, where he befriended Émile Zola. During the social unrest resulting from the Dreyfus affair, de Groux acted as one of Zola's bodyguards. In Paris he also rubbed shoulders with other artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Whistler, Gauguin, Ensor, Rodin and Debussy. He also frequented many writers, including his future son-in-law Emile Baumann, Stéphane Mallarmé, Guillaume Apollinaire, Oscar Wilde, Léon Bloy - with whom he maintained a fusional friendship - Verlaine, Zola, Heredia, Gide, Milosz, Remy de Gourmont and Joris-Karl Huysmans.
Henri de Groux exhibited all over Europe at the salons of Paris, Brussels, Ostend, Spa, Amsterdam, London and Florence. In the latter places he was interned in a psychiatric hospital. He escaped from it and walked all the way to back to Marseille.
He illustrated various literary works. He contributed lithographs to L'Estampe originale (1893) and L'Épreuve (1895).
De Groux had a reputation of a bohemian living a wild and disorderly life. In the preamble of Léon Bloy's book La Femme pauvre (The Poor Woman) de Groux is described as follows : With the exception of our great painter Henry de Groux, who has descended as deeply as you and as heartily into my black pit? (La Part Commune Edition, 1897).
As well as a painter, de Groux was a fervent diarist. Starting from 1892, he produced 18 volumes detailing his life as a European artist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2002, his descendants donated these volumes to the Institut national d'histoire de l'art; selected excerpts were published in 2007. Henry de Groux 1866-1930 - journal - Henry De Groux, Rodolphe Rapetti, Pierre Wat - Editions Kimé at www.dessinoriginal.com.
Apollinaire wrote of De Groux's exhibition in Paris at the Salon d'Automne 1911, praising with "...gives one the impression of an immense labor and a sensibility of the highest order..."
- "Colours of the War: Art Work of Belgian Soldiers At the Front (1914-1918): A Selection of the Collections kept at the Royal Army Museum in Brussels; published 2000; ISBN 2-87051-027-6; page 57
- Rodolphe Rapetti, Un chef-d'oeuvre pour ces temps d'incertitude: Le Christ aux outrages d'Henry de Groux, in: Revue de l'Art Année 1992 96 pp. 40-50 (in French)
- Pinchon.html Pierre Pinchon, Autoportrait d'Henry De Groux en “héros mendiant”, in: Image de l'artiste, sous la direction d'Éric Darragon et Bertrand Tillier, Territoires contemporains, nouvelle série - 4 (in French)
- Publication : Henry de Groux 1866-1930, Journal at www.latribunedelart.com
- Media related to Henry de Groux at Wikimedia Commons
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