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Marius Roy
Au quartier, huit heures et demie
Oil on canvas : 150 X 200 cm
Signed and dated 1883
Sold at Christie’s London, 15/03/96
For 45.500 £ = 53.410 €
 
A smaller, signed but undated version of this composition, oil on panel, 33 X 45 cm was sold at Sotheby’s New York, 17/02/93

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Painting for Sale
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Roy, Marius
"Wating for the military parade"
In short
 
Marius Roy specialised in scenes representing the daily activities of soldiers. His public artistic career started at the age of 46, exhibiting at the Paris Salon of 1880. His workshop was in the then still very bohemian Montmartre district of Paris, not far from the famous “Le chat noir” cabaret, which was immortalised by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
 
Roy’s signature is followed by an anchor, indicating that he is a “Peintre official de la Marine”. Our painting must therefore date from the last twenty years of his life, as he received this title in 1901.
 
This scene must represent the preparations for some commemorative parade of Grenadiers of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée: the 
so-called “grognards” of the Old Guard (“Vieille Garde”) facing the youngsters of the “Jeune Garde”. 
 
About Marius Roy
 
French painter
Lyon 1833 – 1921 Paris?
 
Academic painter of military scenes.
Known for his human, almost social vision of military life; he preferred painting the daily activities above the grand battle scenes.
 
Pupil of Gustave Boulanger and of Jules Lefèbvre, who was an instructor at the liberal Académie Julian of Paris.
Official painter of the French Marine in 1901. That same year Félix Ziem (1821 – 1911) received the same title. Ziem was a prolific painter, member of the School of Barbizon who turned Orientalist at a later age.
 
Roy started his public artistic career at the age of 46, exhibiting at the Paris Salon of 1880 a portrait of the chief of police. It is not known what he had done before: might he have been involved in the military or in the police?
 
His workshop was in the Rue Victor Massé 23, formerly Rue Laval, in the then still very bohemian Montmartre district of Paris, not far from the famous “Le chat noir” cabaret (at number 12), which was immortalised by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901).
 
Our painter also made many illustrations for books about military subjects. He also wrote himself “Les Grandes Manoeuvres” between 1886 and 1890, which in fact was a book describing and illustrating uniforms of the French army.
 
About our painting
 
Roy’s signature is followed by an anchor, indicating that he is a “Peintre official de la Marine”. Our painting must therefore date from the last twenty years of his life, as he received this title in 1901, aged 68. Roy died at the age of 88, but I can not imagine that he made this painting much later than the early 1900s.
It must represent the preparations for some commemorative parade of Grenadiers of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée: the so-called “grognards” of the Old Guard (“Vieille Garde”) facing the youngsters of the “Jeune Garde”. These are dressed up puppet soldiers, not the warriors who lost from the Prussians at Sedan in 1870.
 
Why should you buy this painting?
 
Because it is a quintessential French painting from the Third Republic ... at ease.
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