French painter Roger Dérieux was born in Paris on January 28th, 1922.
He was the only son of Henry Dérieux, a poet and writer, who collaborated with Mercure de France and was published in many poetry journals.
His mother, Isabelle Thomas, also was a writer (of tales and short stories). She studied singing with Vincent d’Indy at the Scola Cantorum, accompanied herself on piano, sang and played often. Roger was raised in an environment where literature and art held an essential place.
The family lived at 81 Rue de Grenelle, their Parisian home for over eleven years. Henry Dérieux was a lawyer for a few years, but his very fragile health soon required frequent trips out of the city, first to the South of France, where he spent long stretches of time in Cannes; in the mountains, in Ardèche, and then from 1928, when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, from which he would never recover, in Arcachon, Grasse, Plateau d’Assy, Amélie-les-Bains, and Chamonix. Roger joined him on some of these trips. He was raised largely by his maternal grandmother from Ardèche, the Baroness Valentine Thomas, who provided him with the necessary emotional and practical continuity. His mother acquired and managed, between 1929 and 1933, the bookstore “Au Sans Pareil”, located at 37 Avenue Kléber, which would remain a magical place of great memories for him. Despite his father’s illness and sometimes difficult moments, Roger had a dreamy and happy childhood, the memories of which would stay with him throughout his life.
1933 : In the autumn, the family leaves Paris and the Rue de Grenelle and settles in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, benefiting from a better climate than Paris for Henry Dérieux. Roger enters the Saint-Germain college.
1936 : Back in the South of France, he is a student at the Cannes college where he will have as a teacher, among others, Romuald Dor de la Souchère, also curator of the Grimaldi Castle in Antibes, which will later become the Picasso Museum.
1938 : Through Germaine Everling Picabia, a friend of his mother’s, Roger meets Francis Picabia, who invites him to visit his studio in Golfe-Juan – a meeting that leaves a strong impression on the young man.
1939 : He befriends cellist Maurice Gendron and future writer Roger Rudigoz, but most importantly the poet Alexandre Toursky, who will remain a dear friend until his premature death in 1970. Roger begins to paint.
1940 : He finishes his studies and in the autumn enters a workshop (drawing and painting) where he will have the opportunity, in the winter of 1941, to meet Picabia again, who for a period finds it amusing to play the “workshop boss”, which in turn allows Roger to get to know him better and to work under his very liberal direction.
1941 : In May, Roger spends several months at the castle of Lavis in Ardèche, a property of his family, where he starts serious painting work, focusing on still life and landscapes. He returns to Cannes a few days before the death of his father, Henry Dérieux, on October 23rd.
1942 : From March to October, Roger is required to perform a service (which replaces military service in the non-occupied zone) for the youth work action Chantiers de Jeunesse, most of which takes place for him on the island of Porquerolles, where he meets Robert D. Valette.
1943-1944 : During the winter of 1942-1943, Roger shares a studio in Cannes with Dany Lartigue. The two artists visit Pierre Bonnard in Le Cannet. In February 1943, Roger is called up for the French Service du Travail Obligatoire (compulsory labour service), which concerns all men of his age. To avoid it, he begins a pursuit through France with various adventures and mishaps. He is caught once but manages to escape from a convoy bound for Upper Silesia. However, he is caught again and will end up working as a painter in Salzburg, Austria.
In late May 1945, he is repatriated to France by the US Army.
1945 : In the summer, Roger spends time in Cannes and Ardèche, where he devotes himself to painting. In September, he moves to Paris, 108 Rue du Bac. He frequents the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, where he works every morning. In November, he participates for the first time in the Salon des Moins de Trente Ans.
1946 : On May 15th, at the Bar Vert on Rue Jacob (one of the hotspots of Saint-Germain-des-Prés at the time), he meets two sisters, France and Reine Dautry. There is an immediate and mutual attraction with Reine, which will lead to them moving in together in the fall. Through Reine, he meets André Frénaud and Garbell, and a little later, Guy Weelen. In October, he leaves the Rue du Bac for 14 Rue de l’Université, where he soon has a small studio. He exhibits again at the Salon des Moins de Trente Ans, where he meets Geneviève Asse, Baron-Renouard, Jacques Chantarel, Jean Cortot, Dmitrienko, Massagier, and Truphémus.
1947 : Roger attends the Académie Lhote and takes evening drawing classes at the Ecole de la Ville de Paris. In June, he has his first gallery exhibition, “Quatre peintres” (Aïzpiri, Dérieux, de Rosnay, Verdier) at the Galerie Roux-Hentschel on Rue La Boétie, organised by Guy Weelen.
1948 : Young artists from different backgrounds join the four painters, thus forming the group “Amateurs de Peinture” created by Guy Weelen and presided over by Jacques Hébertot. There were several exhibitions in different places and the publication of a collection, prefaced by René Huyghe, “Douze poètes, douze peintres”, which will be released in February 1950, where, in addition to the four painters, the names of Krol, Minaux, Montané, Maurice Rocher, René-Guy Cadou, Jean Cayrol, Pierre Descargues, Maurice Fombeure, Loys Masson, Jean Rousselot, and Toursky can be found. He remains friends with the engraver Abram Krol and especially with Guy Weelen from this period.
1949 : Exhibition of the Young Painting Prize at the Galerie Drouand-David in Paris (Roger receives the Éditions Tel Prize). He is selected for the Fénéon Prize.
1950 : Guy Weelen comes to his studio, accompanied by Dr. Haavard Rostrup, Curator of French Painting at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, who invites Roger to participate in the French Art exhibition he is organising in Copenhagen: “Levende Farver” (Living Colors). He choses seven paintings. This exhibition brings together all the major names in French painting at the time, from Bazaine and Estève to Picasso and Jacques Villon, including Braque, Chastel, Dufy, Garbell, Hartung, Hillaireau, Kermadec, Lanskoy, Léger, Masson, Manessier, Matisse, Pagava, Rouault, Singier, Soulages, Nicolas de Staël, Tal Coat, Vieira da Silva, Bram and Geer Van Velde, among more than 45 artists, each represented by several works. The two youngest invitees are Bernard Dufour and Roger Dérieux. This exhibition marks the true beginning of his artistic career. Marriage with Reine Dautry on October 3rd.
1951 : The beginning of the year is marked by sorrow for Roger, due to the death of his grandmother (his second mother), who had been so important to him during his childhood years. He has his first solo exhibition at the Athenaeum Gallery in Copenhagen and visits Denmark for the first time.
He travels to Stockholm with Dr. Rostrup, during which they establish a lasting friendship.
1952 : He meets John Evarts, an American musician and Secretary of the International Music Council at UNESCO, who will become a faithful friend and introduce him to other art lovers. Additionally, a couple of other American friends, Arne and Parménia Ekstrom, organise his first solo exhibition at the Paul Morihien Gallery in the Palais-Royal. He also meets art critic Frank Elgar and Jean Bottero, a renowned Assyriologist and professor at the École pratique des Hautes Études, with whom he develops a lifelong friendship. There is also a close friendship between Botteros wife, Peny, and Reine. In the summer, he travels to Italy and Austria, with a return to Salzburg.
1953 : Roger associates with artists of his generation, often around Garbell: Gustave Bolin, Jacques Germain, Cottavoz, Bernard Dufour, Philibert Charrin, Ravel, and elders: Marie Raymond, Geer Van Velde and especially Francisco Bores and Gérard Schneider, who invites him to participate in the Salon de Mai, which he will participate in for several years. Invited to the Salon d’Octobre, initiated by Charles Estienne for “Hommage à Picabia”, Galerie Craven, Paris.
1955 : Robert Buron, a minister in various positions, who is a knowledgeable art lover, organises an annual meeting of artists from the Salon de Mai, which gives Roger the opportunity to meet Atlan, Berçot, Bertholle, Olivier Debré, Lanskoy, Pignon, Serge Poliakoff, Pierre Soulages, Jacques Villon, Zao Wou Ki, and sculptors Karl Jean Longuet and Jacques Zwobada.
During the month of October, he stays in Rome with his friends Nelo Risi (poet and filmmaker) and Mitty Lee Brown, a painter, who are married at the time.
1956 : Personal exhibition at the Athenaeum Gallery in Copenhagen, with a catalogue featuring an introduction by Guy Weelen, and on the invitation of “Foreningen Fransk Kunst” (Society for French Art), of which Haavard Rostrup is president at the time. In September, Roger leaves Rue de Cadix and moves to the studio at 278 Boulevard Raspail, which will henceforth be his permanent address and place of work.
In this very building, Apollinaire led his famous 1912 Soirées de Paris, a literary review with Picasso, Le Douanier Rousseau, Serge Férat and Baroness d’Oetingen, André Salmon and Baron Mollet. Roger occupies a studio facing the courtyard, adjacent to the one where Mondrian lived in 1937.
1958 : “Young painters from Germany and France”, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne; “Dansk-Fransk Kunst” (Danish-French Art), Galleri Birch, Copenhagen.
Roger establishes a relationship with Emmanuel Navon, a gallery owner in San Francisco, who regularly buys his works and exhibits him in the United States for more than twenty-five years. André Frénaud introduces him to Sylvie Galanis, who invites him to participate in the exhibitions at the Galerie Villand and Galanis, alongside Chastel, Dayez, Estève, Gischia, Lagrange, Lapicque, Geer Van Velde and the sculptor Lobo.
1959 : “Painters of Today”, Museum of Grenoble.
1960 : Roger meets Imre Pan, a Hungarian poet, collector and publisher, who has been a refugee in France since 1956. Pan is fond of Dérieux’s small formats and oil paintings on paper, and will become a collector and friend until his death in 1972. Roger also travels to Holland in April of that year. From 1960 to 1966, filmmaker friends Mildred and Robert Courtot make a private contract with him, paying monthly instalments in exchange for paintings, which provides more financial stability.
Roger meets Valentine Hugo, Man Ray, and especially Francis Ponge through his friends Robert D. Valette and Cécile Eluard. Dérieux and Ponge will remain close friends until the poet’s death in 1988.
1961 : Roger stays in Denmark with his friend, Dr. Haavard Rostrup, who is the curator of the Ordrupgaard Museum. Roger has a solo exhibition at the Henning Larsen Gallery in Copenhagen, and a summary of his work since 1952 is presented at the Jacques Péron Gallery in Paris. The Musée de Grenoble acquires his painting “Le Port” (oil on canvas, 73 x 100 cm, 1960). Roger joins the Cinq-Mars Gallery, where he becomes part of a friend group including Jean Edelmann, Claude Maréchal, Gérard Cabus, Jean Coulot, and Ch. Pierre-Humbert, and later Alain Roll.
1962 : Roger is the guest of honor of the Danish painter’s group “Corner” in Copenhagen.
1963 : Roger has solo exhibitions at the Cinq-Mars Gallery in Paris and the Charles Garibaldi Gallery in Marseille. He participates in the exhibition “French Portrait in the 20th Century” in Berlin and Dusseldorf, organised by the French Association of Artistic Action, and in “L’École de Paris 63” at the Charpentier Gallery in Paris. He exhibits “Les Grands Toits” (oil on canvas, 146 x 114 cm) at the latter. The David B. Findlay Gallery in New York starts buying his paintings.
1964 : Roger has solo exhibitions at the 27 Gallery in Oslo and the Gallery of Graphic Art in New York. His work is featured in “Roger Dérieux, Oil Paintings on Paper”, a collection with a study by Imre Pan, published by the Signe-Morphèmes n° 70, with the first 15 copies accompanied by an oil painting on paper.
1966 : Roger meets Denise Renard and helps found the Galerie Jacob at 28 Rue Jacob, initially dedicated to drawings but soon to include paintings. Denise Renard would passionately defend painting at the gallery for thirty years, and Roger is part of the founding team with Charles Marq and Brigitte Simon. He will maintain a warm friendship with Denise throughout the years.
In 1967, Roger has a solo exhibition at the Galerie Jacob featuring oils on paper, with a preface by Francis Ponge (November-December).
Along with Robert D. Valette and Cécile Eluard, he participates in the exciting adventure of discovering the series of wall paintings by Max Ernst in Paul Eluard’s former villa in Eaubonne. These murals, that have been hidden for forty years behind old wallpaper, after restoration, are exhibited at the Galerie François Petit.
Throughout the years, Roger Dérieux remains faithful to the memory of his father and maintains a special relationship with poetry. He collaborates with many poets, creating limited editions or unique books that include his drawings, gouaches, lithographs, or collages. He is particularly close to Toursky, André Frénaud, Francis Ponge, Jean Tortel, Jean Vuaillat, Max de Carvalho, Jean-Pierre Siméon, Jean-Pierre Geay, and others, both contemporary and not, whom he admires (including Baudelaire, Georg Trakl, Pierre Jean Jouve, and others).
1968 : Solo exhibition at Galerie Ariane in Gothenburg, Sweden, later presented in two Swedish museums in Skara and Hudiksvall.
1970-1971 : On January 6th, 1970, Francis Ponge visits Rogers studio on Boulevard Raspail. The two meet again in Haute-Loire and Ardèche in late July, in Chambon-sur-Lignon and at Château de Lavis in Saint-Martin-de-Valamas.
1973 : Fifty paintings purchased by a Japanese dealer for an exhibition in Tokyo. Solo exhibition “Homage to Salzburg” at the Palais de la Résidence in Salzburg, under the patronage of the France-Austria Friendship Association and the Salzburger Kunstverein. Stay in Salzburg with his friends Kaufmann.
1974-1975 : Solo exhibition at Galerie Beaux-Arts in Tokyo. Publication of “Recognition in Salzburg,” a bilingual edition with German translation by Wilhelm Kaufmann and 14 black drawings, with 150 copies. Part of the edition is acquired by the City of Salzburg and the provincial government. The book is well-received by friends and critics, from Professor Mario Wandruszka to Jean Guichard-Meili, Lucien Scheler, Castor Seibel, and in particular François Chapon in the Bulletin du Bibliophile in 1978.
1976 : Publication of “L’Abrégé de l’aventure organique” by Francis Ponge, followed by the development of a detail of it, the original edition printed by Féquet and Baudier.
1977 : “André Frénaud, his work, his painter friends.” Exhibition at the Maison de la Culture in Amiens and “Around André Frénaud” at the Centre Georges-Pompidou in Paris, featuring works by Appel, Asse, Bazaine, Beaudin, Busse, Cortot, Dérieux, Dubuffet, Estève, Fautrier, Jean Hugo, Léger, Masson, Miró, Ubac, Vieira da Silva, Villon.
1978 : Solo exhibition at the Haagen-Mullers Gallery in Copenhagen.
Monograph on Roger by Haavard Rostrup, with a color reproduction on the cover and thirty-five black and white reproductions, published by IDR Éditeur.
1980 : Reine, Dérieux’s wife, passes away after suffering from a very painful and debilitating illness for more than twenty years, which she bore with admirable dignity and courage. This is a period of great sadness, turmoil, and uncertainty for Roger, after thirty-four years of life together.
1981 : Publication of Charles Baudelaire’s “The Clock” with drawings of his cats.
1982 : He meets Anne Aubry, a friend of Denise Renard, who is very interested in painting. There is an immediate spark between the two, and they never separate again. They get married on December 6th.
1984 : On April 3rd, his mother passes away at the age of 89. There is an exhibition titled “Twenty-five years of acquisitions” at the Museum of Art and History, Palace of the Archbishops of Narbonne. At the invitation of the Salzburg State Office and the French Cultural Center, he presents an exhibition of “Paintings – Collages – Books” at the Traklhaus (birthplace of the poet, now a cultural center) in Salzburg. On this occasion, which marks the 70th anniversary of the poet’s death, he publishes an illustrated version of “Verklärter Herbst – Automne transfiguré” by Georg Trakl, which is limited to 33 copies, each containing an original watercolour.
“Paintings and Collages” subsequently becomes the subject of an exhibition at the French Institute in Vienna.
1985 : The painter begins a significant series of collages, free from any figurative elements. This marks a turning point in the direction of his work, initially inspired by Kurt Schwitters, about whom Imre Pan has spoken to him a lot.
1986 : Solo exhibition of paintings from 1950-1960 at Galerie Darial, 22 Rue de Beaune, directed by Tamara Taly, where Véra Pagava also exhibits. He meets Denise and Lucien Scheler, booksellers, bibliophiles and collectors, who acquire two paintings. Publication of “Carnets du Vivarais”, text and 14 drawings by Roger. Dedicated to Reine, it is a tribute to Ardèche and Boutières, the region of his family origin, always dear to his heart.
1987 : “Hommage à Francis Ponge”, La Cour de Varenne, Paris (Bona, Ange Boaretto, Pierre Charbonnier, Roger Dérieux, Jean Hélion, Jacques Hérold, Gérard Vulliamy.)
1988 : Francis Ponge dies. Roger attends his funeral at the cemetery of Nîmes.
1989 : Solo exhibition “Collages and Paintings”, Galerie Darial, Paris.
1990 : Solo exhibition in Venice at the invitation of Ugo Samueli. “Paintings, Collages, Books”, a retrospective exhibition of about a hundred works at the Château Musée de Tournon-sur-Rhône (Ardèche).
1991 : Exhibitions at Galerie Jacob and Galerie Darial, Paris. In June, Roger presents an exhibition at the Médiathèque de Privas, “Mozart and Salzburg”, bringing together books, drawings, and paintings, in honour of the bicentenary of Mozart’s death.
1992 : Solo exhibition “Paintings 1990-1991”, Galerie Darial, Paris. “Collages, décollages, images détournées”, Musée Ingres, Montauban, and Musée de Pau.
1993 : Invited to the exhibition “L’œil et Ponge” (Francis Ponge and artists), Galerie de l’Échaudé, Paris, organised by Frank Waill. He creates a large collage (4m²), “Hommage à la Francophonie”, for the Château de Joviac, in Rochemaure, in the south of Ardèche. Solo exhibition “Collages 1988-1993 and works on paper 1952-1984”, Galerie de l’Échaudé, Paris. Solo exhibition at GAC (Groupe Art Contemporain), in Annonay, chaired by André Paret. Present at the FIAC (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) with Galerie de l’Échaudé.
1994 : Exhibitions at Galerie Jacob, as well as at Galerie Darial (with Véra Pagava).
1995 : Solo exhibition at Imprimerie de Cheyne, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, on the occasion of “Lecture sous l’arbre” (Readings under the Tree).
1996 : Solo exhibition at Galerie Arrêt sur l’image in Bordeaux. “30 years of Galerie Jacob”, Galerie Jacob, Paris. All the artists presented and defended by Denise for thirty years pay tribute to her: it will be the “Guirlande de Denise”. 50th Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris. “Hommage à Geneviève Thévenot”, Musée d’Art Moderne, Troyes. “Cinquantenaire de l’UNESCO”, Paris. Roger is named Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters.
1997 : Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris.
1998 : “Le Bois de hêtres” by Jean-Pierre Siméon, published by Éditions de Cheyne, ten copies with collages.
1999 : “Salon des Réalités Nouvelles” in Paris.
Solo exhibition “Works on paper 1956-1999”, collages and oil on paper at Galerie Olivier Nouvellet.
“Painting collages” at Galerie des Sept Collines in Vienne (Isère).
“Tendencies 99” at Musée Hébert in La Tronche/Grenoble. Catalogue with preface by Henry Nesme, curator of the museum.
2001 : Invited by the city of Annonay (Ardèche), exhibited at the Vivarais Museum during the summer. Catalogue printed by Imprimerie du Pré Battoir, Saint-Julien-Molin-Molette.
2002 : Solo exhibition “Paintings and Collages” at the Visitation Chapel in Thonon-les-Bains, curated by Yves Mairot.
Invited by the municipality of Angers to participate in the “Salon 2002” (exhibition curator Lydia Harambourg).
2003 : Roger meets Maurice Covo, director of Galerie Renou and Poyet, who appreciates his work and presents a series of collages at 164 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré.
Publication of “Un temps (création actuelle en Ardèche)” by the journals Faire part and Passage d’encres, a collaboration of poets, writers, and artists with connections to Ardèche, including two original black and white collages by Roger.
2004 : Galerie Renou and Poyet continues to present the Roger’s collages alongside other artists of the gallery such as Borès, Debré, Hélion, Lanskoy, Charbonnier. Roger meets Bernard and Annie Mirabel, who have created an exhibition center in Saint-Pierreville, Ardèche, called “la Fabrique du Pont-d’Aleyrac”. They invite Roger for the following summer.
2005 : Solo exhibition at Galerie Olivier Nouvellet in Paris.
Exhibition at “la Fabrique du Pont-d’Aleyrac” from July 9th to August 15th, featuring about a hundred works, paintings from various periods, but mostly collages, as well as some books. A text by Roger titled “Passage d’un oiseau suivi de Sept lettres de Francis Ponge à l’auteur” accompanies the exhibition.
An exhibition of works on paper titled “Mémoires des années 1950-1970” takes place at Académie 25, passage d’Enfer, in Paris on October 14th, 15th, and 16th.
2006 : Roger sells his house in Ardèche and moves to Paris.
2007 : The ADIAM of Versailles commissions Roger to create a poster for the June 1st concert at the Château de Coubertin in the Chevreuse Valley. Also, Jean-François Manier, poet and publisher at Cheyne Éditeur, invites Roger to exhibit at the Cheyne print shop for that year’s “Lecture sous l’arbre” event in Chambon-sur-Lignon (Haute-Loire).
2008 : Maurice Covo asks the painter for new collages which he presents at Galerie Renou and Poyet, 164 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré.
2009 : Anne and Roger settle into their property, the hermitage of Monserot in Pern, Lot, in the Quercy Blanc region.
2011 : Exhibition at the Calligramme bookstore-gallery in Cahors.
2012-2013 : Retrospective at the Henri-Martin Museum in Cahors, from October 2012 to March 2013, entitled “Roger Dérieux. Paintings, collages, living colors”.
2015 : Roger passes away on September 25th in Pern (Lot).
2017 : Exhibition “Roger Dérieux and Ardèche” at the Château-Musée in Tournon-sur-Rhône.
2019 : Exhibition at the Calligramme bookstore-gallery in Cahors.