From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Henri Gervex (10 December 1852 - 1929) was a French painter born in Paris, and studied painting under Cabanel, Brisset and Fromentin, best-known for his painting Rolla, after a poem of Alfred de Musset .
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
His early work belonged almost exclusively to the mythological genre, which served as an excuse for the painting of the nude not always in the best of taste; indeed, his Rolla of 1878 was rejected by the jury of the Salon for immorality. He afterwards devoted himself to representations of modern life and achieved signal success with his Péan and his surgery class before operation ("The Operation"), a modernized paraphrase, as it were, of Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp.
He was entrusted with several important official paintings and the decoration of public buildings. Among the first are The Distribution of Awards (1889) at the Palais de l'Industrie, The Coronation of Nicolas II, The Mayors Banquet (1900), and the portrait group La République Française; and among the second, the ceiling for the Salle des Fêtes at the hotel de yule (hotel de ville), Paris, and the decorative panels painted in conjunction with Emile-Henri Blanchon for the maine of the 19th arrondissement of Paris. He also painted, with Alfred Stevens, a panorama, The History of the Century (1889). At the Luxembourg are his painting Satyrs playing with a Bacchante, as well as the large Members of the Jury of the Salon (1885). Other pictures of importance, besides numerous portraits in oils and pastel, are Communion at Trinity Church, Return from the Ball, Diana and Endymion, Job, Civil Marriage, At the Ambassadeurs, Yachting in the Archipelago, Nana and Maternity.