Artist biography

Francis Gruber 1912-1948

French painter of figures, imaginative compositions, still life and landscape, born at Nancy, son of the stained-glass artist Jacques Gruber. Moved to Paris in 1916. Suffered from asthma from an early age and was unable to have a normal schooling, but read widely such authors as Ibsen, Joyce, Rimbaud, Jarry and Apollinaire. Began to paint seriously at the age of eight and was encouraged by his father and by Braque and Bissiere, who were neighbours. Studied at the Académie Scandinave 1929-32 under Dufresne, Friesz and Waroquier. Admired Bosch, Grünewald, Durer, and became a close friend of Tailleux and Giacometti. His early work was highly imaginative and visionary, but in 1933-6 he began to paint mainly from the model in his studio or views through the window; in 1937 also began to paint out of doors. Taught at the Académie Ranson 1942-3. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Roux-Henstchel, Paris, 1944. From 1942 stayed frequently at Thomery in the Forest of Fontainebleau, and also worked at the Ile de Ré, Belle-Ile and Aix-en-Provence. Awarded the Prix National in 1947. Died at Boucicaut.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.343-4