Pierre Roy

1880–1950

Pierre Roy, ‘A Naturalist’s Study’ 1928
A Naturalist’s Study 1928
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018
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In Tate Modern

Biography

Pierre Roy (10 August 1880 – 26 September 1950) was a French surrealist painter.

He was the eldest of the four children of the secretary of the management board of the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts who all became amateur painters. After gaining his baccalauréat at the local school he joined a firm of architects before enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Disappointed with the course, he left to work on the designs for the 1900 World Fair.

In 1905, he decided to devote himself to painting, beginning in 1906 at the Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (SNBA), a painters collective, exhibiting in 1907, 1908, 1913 and 1914 at the Société des Artistes Indépendants. In 1925, he took part in the first exhibition by surrealist painters alongside Giorgio De Chirico, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso, and in 1926 held his first solo exhibition. In 1933 he was appointed for five years as a naval artist.

He was successful at an exhibition devoted to his work at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1935 and held further exhibitions at the 1937 World's Fair and the Montaigne Gallery in Paris in 1938. He then travelled and exhibited in galleries around the world: in New York at the Brummer Gallery in 1930 and 1933, at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1936, at the Carstairs Gallery in 1949, in London in 1934, at the Wildenstein Gallery and in Hawaii in 1939 at the Honolulu Academy of the Arts.

In addition he created stage sets, several covers for Vogue magazine, and advertising posters.

His work is classed as surrealism, and is based on assemblages of everyday objects such as shells, vegetables and fruits, woollen reels, ears and seeds, eggs and ribbons arranged to create poetic images.

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Artworks

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