1891 - 1981
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Jean Souverbie studied under Jean-Paul Laurens, and met Maurice Denis and Paul Sérusier at a young age. He was initially inspired by Poussin and by the Roman ruins in Provence. He was then directly influenced by the Nabis, although his use of colour aligned him with Fauvism. He discovered Cubism in around 1920 through the work of Georges Braque, who influenced his still-lifes. He saw in Cubism the possibility of a renewal of classical art.
He painted compositions of figures, especially female figures, and of nudes, which ressembled Picasso’s contemporary ‘Pompeiian’ figures. However, the influence of Poussin gave his figures a monumental constructive equilibrium, and his brush with the Nabis and Fauvism lent colour to his version of Cubism.
He received many commissions for murals, including; Music for the Palais de Chaillot Theatre in Paris in 1937 and for ocean liners from 1945 to 1951.
He was a head teacher of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he taught mural painting, and was elected a member of the Institute, where he held high office. He was a humanist in the Franco-Latin tradition, and succeeded in combining adherence to an avant-garde artistic movement with a brilliant official career.
He exhibited primarily in the main annual Paris Salons and was included in French contributions to international exhibitions. He showed groups of his works in solo exhibitions.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Geneva (Petit Palais): Woman with Watermelon (1920)
Paris (MNAM-CCI): Fisherwoman; Woman Sitting by the Sea; Shepherdess from the Lot Region; Street Singers