George Desvallières, Pastels on Paper
Born in 1861 in Paris, George Desvallières studied at the Académie Julian with historical painter and teacher Tony Robert-Fleury and studied with Jules Valadon at the École des Beaux-Arts. His early paintings consisted of mainly portrait work.
Desvallières had a privileged relationship with Gustave Moreau, a renowned professor and one of the major figures in Symbolist painting which was steeped in mysticism. Moreau had a major influence on Desvallières’s early artwork, turning him toward an interest in mythology and religion. After a trip to Italy in 1890, his style started combining dark subjects and strong color with religious drama.
Desvallières worked with painters Maurice Denis and Albert Besnard to decorate French art and music patron Jacques Rouché’s private mansion. He also worked on a number of public and private decorative programs related to World War I: among those were windows for a church in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and for the Douaumont Ossuary, a memorial site for the skeletal remains of the soldiers who died at the Battle of Verdun in World War I.
Desvallières illustrated a number of books and plays, including “Rolla” by French dramatist Alfred de Musset and “La Princesse Lointaine” by French poet and dramatist Edmond Rostand. Collections of Desvallières’s work can be found at the Louvre in Paris and the Muséed’Orsay.
Top Image: “Joueurs de Balles”, Pastel, 1894
Bottom Image: “Tireurs a l’arc”, Pastel, 1895