Bal des Quat’z’Arts
by Henry Jules Charles Corneille de Groux


Country of origin: France

Medium: Oil on canvas

Signed: Signed lower left

Dated: 1902

Condition: Very good original condition

Size: 11.00" x 18.00" (27.9cm x 45.7cm)

Framed size: 16.00" x 23.00" (40.6cm x 58.4cm)

Provenance: Private US collection
Sotheby's New York 23rd May 1997 Lot 309 - Sold $9,200.00

Further information

Bal des Quat'z'Arts ("Four Arts Ball") was a Parisian annual ball, the first held in 1892 and the last in 1966. The event was organised by Henri Guillaume, Professor of Architecture at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts for students of architecture, painting, sculpture, and engraving.

Artist biography

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Henry de Groux was the son of Charles de Groux. He studied with Portaels at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. He was a member of the group Flight ( L'Essor) in 1886, and Les XX in 1887, from which he was excluded in 1890 due to his injurious attitude towards Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec. He was friends with Degouve de Nuncques. In Paris in 1892 he linked up with Verlaine, Hérédia, Pierre Louÿs and Léon Bloy, with whom he broke suddenly. He spent the rest of his life in Provence. There he executed two large compositions for the stairs of the Opéra of Marseilles.

His canvases show a great conceptual power. He was inspired by World War I, creating Realist compositions that nevertheless approach allegory. He was involved in the Symbolist literary movement. He was often inspired by the literary themes in the cycles of Dante's Divine Comedy and Wagner's Tetrology. He also treated social themes, notably in 1893 with Great Upheaval. He became involved in the conflicts of the Third Republic, painting a Mocking of Zola during the Dreyfus Affair. He illustrated The Secret Book ( Le Livre Secret) by Joséphin Péladan, and Three Tales ( Trois Contes) by Villiers de l'Isle-Adam. As a sculptor, he sought to exalt Baudelaire, Balzac, Wagner, and Tolstoy, whom he represented as a colossal figure. He painted Potato Harvest, Pilgrim of St Columba and Archers of Lachelen.

He began exhibiting his work in 1886. He drew acclaim for his Mocking of Christ in 1892 in Paris, presented to the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. The Salon refused the work, despite it having been defended by Puvis de Chavannes. In 1911 De Groux exhibited at the Salon d'Automne to great effect. At this point, he was so absorbed in his work that some listings indicated him as being 'deceased'.

Museum and Gallery Holdings

Avignon (Palais du Roure): Mocking of Christ (1892)