The Petit Palais has organized a retrospective of the painter, entitled George Desvallières – La peinture corps et âme.
George Desvallières had a privileged relationship with Gustave Moreau, one of the major figure in Symbolist painting, steeped in mysticism, but also a renowned professor, whose students include Matisse, Marquet, Georges Rouault, Louis Valtat, Henri Manguin and Charles Camoin…
Desvallières art is influenced by Moreau, also by the Antique, but will change as years go by. He worked with Maurice Denis and Albert Besnard (another painter revered in his time but unfairly neglected today, who fortunately will have his own retrospective at the Petit Palais later this year) to decorate Jacques Rouché’s private mansion. He also painted a series of works with themes resembling Toulouse-Lautrec’s but with violent tones.
WWI leaves strong marks on him: actor and witness of the dreadful fighting, he also loses his son Daniel in the war which goes on and on. Desvallières finds religion in the foxhole, and becomes one of the masters, with Maurice Denis and Georges Rouault, who wish to renew Christian art.
In addition to his paintings on canvas, he works for décorative art programmes linked to religion or the Great War (stained-glass windows at the Douaumont Ossuary for instance).