Maurice Rocher

1 August 1918 - 12 July 1995, French Expressionist Painter

Rocher attended the School of Applied Arts in Le Mans and the Beaux-Arts in Paris and, from 1936 to 1939, the Sacred Art Workshops of Maurice Denis and George Desvallières whose teaching he appreciated. A man of faith, he regularly attended the abbey of Solesmes. In 1948, he was one of the co-founders of the Centre for Sacred Art, where he taught until 1952, a teaching interrupted in 1949-1950 by a stay at the Casa de Velázquez in Madrid.

Maurice Rocher's pictorial work is organized around a few major themes, each treated and deepened in a specific way by a long series of paintings. The main themes of the work are:

  • Crucifixions and Ecce homo, 1954-1965

  • Notables, 1965-1967

  • The Nudes, 1968-1970

  • Churches, 1970-1972

  • The Tortured, 1985-1990

  • Couples, 1985-1987

  • Faces-materials

First influenced by Constant Permeke, whose elliptical modeling and brown hues he adopted, he opted in 1965 for red and pink characters, and began a series of churches (classical then unstructured) that he continued throughout his life. In 1966, the image of the revolutionary priest Camilo Torres Restrepo inspired a series of Tortured people who were obsessively declined until his death. From 1970, he enriched his palette with brighter shades and diversified his backgrounds (often black) in Faces with softer hues and Notables, "Sartrian "bastards". 3 to the greens and blues sometimes violent. These years are also marked by an abundant production of gouaches, inks and washes. In 1983, the meeting of a woman enriched the theme of the scenes with several characters, then the recurring theme of the Couples, sometimes entitled Man-eaters.

For him, the material takes precedence, he does not start from an established subject but is guided by his instinct, it is in this that he claims an influence of expressionism. The Faces-Matter composed from remnants of paint testify to this approach. Although form often prevails over subject, he remains a figurative painter. He regularly exhibits in Paris in various galleries and rubs shoulders with painters of the new figurationBengt LindströmJohn Christoforou or Orlando Pelayo, at the Ariel gallery.

From 1946 to 1965, Maurice Rocher designed the stained glass windows (lead stained glass windows or glass slabs) of more than a hundred religious buildings, in France and abroad, as part of the reconstruction following the Second World War, or for new churches.

He died in Versailles in 1995, leaving an important work consisting of several hundred paintings and works on paper.