Marcel Gromaire

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Portrait of Marcel Gromaire and his family by Tadeusz Makowski, ca. 1925, National Museum in Warsaw

Marcel Gromaire (July 24, 1892 – April 11, 1971) was a French painter. He painted many works on social subjects, and is often associated with Social Realism.

Early life[edit]

Marcel 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, and attended classes at Académie de La Palette.[1] 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.[2]

Creative life[edit]

Gromaire returned to Paris, working in a Paris studio, his subject matter of rich dark ochres 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. Gromaire used his studio as a standard, a filter; it was more than just a place to paint.[3]

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 watercolours.[2]

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 the Paris Exposition Internationale.

Gromaire also taught; among his pupils was the painter and sculptor Jeanne Patterson Miles.[4]

Later career[edit]

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.

Gromaire relocated to the United States and became a member of the Jury for the Carnegie Prize, which went to Jacques Villon that year (1950). A Carnegie prize (not first) was awarded to Gromaire himself in 1952.

In 1954, he was made commander of the Légion d'honneur and in 1958, the Grand Prix National des Arts. He died in Paris.


  1. ^ André de Ridder, Le Fauconnier, L'Art Libre, No. 11, August 15, 1919, p. 120. Gallica, Bibliothèque nationale de France
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ The Artist in His Studio, Viking Press, by Alexander Liberman
  4. ^ Jules Heller; Nancy G. Heller (19 December 2013). North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-63882-5.