Roger Bissière (French, 1888–1964) was a French painter associated with the École de Paris. Having befriended André Lhote and Georges Braque in Paris, Bissière was encouraged to develop a more humanized version of Cubism. As such, he enriched orthodox Cubism by applying the Fauve technique of heavy brushwork to its usual pictorial vocabulary. Simultaneously, Bissière was engaged by Pablo Picasso’s research into advancing Cubism, which brought him to Neo-Classicism. Bissière’s unremitting investigations into the survival of Cubism ultimately pushed him to abstraction.

Bissière left Paris in 1939, and, in the 1940s, began a series of wall hangings inspired by medieval tapestry, using rectangular forms made from fabric, roughly stitched together. Bissière also created sculptures out of iron machinery and pieces of wood, exemplifying the bricolage aesthetic.

After undergoing treatment for glaucoma, he painted almost exclusively in egg tempera on cardboard, wood, and paper. In the late 1950s, he returned to oil painting, and later designed stained-glass windows for the Metz Cathedral.

Timeline

1886
Born in Villeréal, Lot-et-Garonne, France
1905
Studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, France
1910–1911
Studied at the École des Beaux-arts, Paris, France
1912
Wrote exhibition reports for the weekly Parisian newspaper L'Opinion
1919
Married Catherine Lucie Lotte, nicknamed Mousse; ended his collaboration with L'Opinion
1918–1920
Painted several Cubist paintings; participated in a group exhibition held at the Galerie Berthe Weill, and sold his first painting; began exhibiting regularly at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants and at the Salon d'Automne (until 1923); wrote the preface of a book about Georges Braque edited by Léonce Rosenberg (Effort moderne publications); first issue of the magazine L'Esprit Nouveau, founded by Le Corbusier, was published, with his notes about Seurat’s art; his notes about Ingres were in the fourth issue, and his notes about Corot were in the ninth issue
1923
Served as a painting and sketching teacher at the Ranson Academy; at the recommendation of Maurice Denis, he took part in an exhibition at the Eugène Druet gallery, and participated in group exhibitions (until 1937)
1934
Opened a fresco workshop at the Ranson Academy
1939
After the outbreak of World War II, Bissière took refuge in his house in Lot; the war greatly affected him and he stopped painting for a while
1950
After a double glaucoma surgery, he painted a series of small paintings using egg as medium; he participated in a highly successful exhibition at Jeanne Bucher gallery in Paris
1958
Designed the mock-ups of the two skylights of the Cathedral Saint-Étienne in Metz
1964
Died in Boissièrettes, France

Exhibitions

1962
Jeanne-Bucher Gallery (solo)
1959
Retrospective, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
1958
Jeanne-Bucher Gallery (solo)

Public Collections

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Kunsthaus Zürich
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris
Museum Boymans-Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Sprengel Museum, Hannover
Tate Gallery, London

Literature

2001
Bissière: Catalogue Raisonné 1886-1939, Isabelle and Virginie Duval, Ides et Calendes, Neuchatel