Roger de La Fresnaye (1885-1925)
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Roger de la Fresnaye was a French Cubist painter, born into a family of aristocracy. He had a classical education and attended the Academie Julien in 1904 and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1908. La Fresnaye also studied under Maurice Denis and Paul Serusier at the Academie Ranson. Their influence on La Fresnaye helped him to develop a Symbolist style.
By 1912, La Fresnay had become involved with the Section d’Or, which was a group of young up and coming artists that worked in Cubism. He would also become a member of the Puteaux Group, which also focused on Cubist theories. During this time, La Fresnaye was most influenced by Picasso and Georges Braque; however, his paintings were more realistic than theirs.
Although his work has been compared to that of Delaunay, La Fresnaye painted in a more decorative style. He used colors to create a prismatic effect in the same way as Delaunay, but was not nearly as simple. La Fresnaye typically painted figure studies and Surrealist themes full of symbolism, but created portraits, still life and landscapes on occasion.
Certainly, his earliest work as a student must have been of a more academic approach, but these pieces would be a rare find. However, sketches, watercolors and other mixed media pieces such as lithographs certainly still exist today, and because he was a highly experimental artist, could be in virtually any style.
La Fresnaye also worked briefly in sculpture, and surprisingly, most of his sculptures were in a classical style, but some had Cubist influences.
La Fresnaye served in World War I, but after the war, his health began to wane. He continued to paint a little until his death in 1925, but these paintings were a departure from Cubism and were in a more linear style. Though he died relatively young and had his career cut short, La Fresnaye was still a fairly prolific painter and left many pieces behind. Still wondering about a Surrealist/Cubist painting in your home? It may be by Roger de La Fresnaye…contact us to find out.