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Roger Descombes was a Swiss artist, painter, and engraver. He was born in 1915 and died in 1979. He was also an illustrator of many newspapers and revues as well as books.

During his career, Roger Descombes produced many fine works of art, a small selection of which are available in the gallery here. I am continuing my cataloguing work which will soon be completed, including as many of the works produced by the artist as is possible to trace. Please get in touch with me if you own any of the works that I am not yet aware of or if you have any information regarding Descombes' work as this would be most useful to me. Please also get in touch through my contact email on this site, if you are simply just interested in this artist.

Last year marked one hundred years since the Artist’s birth and friends, collectors, family members and enthusiasts of Roger Descombes’ work were invited to raise a glass to his memory and celebrate his diverse and prolific artistic gifts by continuing to support and promote the very real talents of this artist. Congratulate yourselves also for being the discerning collectors of his paintings, drawings and engravings and treasure the works knowing that many among us owners assert that his works never fail to please the viewer day in, day out, decade after decade. They are never tiring but arresting and immensely satisfying in their linear perfection and balanced colour compositions.

From fashion drawing for top designers such as Dior, Molyneux, Jacqmar, Hardy Amies and Hartnell to name but a few, published in first class magazines such as English and French Vogue and L’Officiel de la Mode et la Couture during the whole of the Second World War and post war years. Then later, working independently as a painter engraver exhibiting all over Europe while executing astoundingly beautiful botanical engravings for the Town of Geneva in the 1960’s as well as working in the medium of mural painting and stained glass at times, examples of which are now owned by museums and private collectors all over Europe as well as America.

This Swiss artist is treasured if a little forgotten now by some. Not so neglected or out of favour however, that only at the beginning of 2014 the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire of Geneva published in their museum magazine (MAHG no.2014- 01Jan- April pp.18-19) and on their posters for a series of concerts, some of his portraits of J.S. Bach and of Mozart taken from their extensive collection of drawings by Descombes. Not so relegated to the past indeed, that a young and very well-known London lecturer and writer of fashion history admires his work so much that she has a fashion drawing of his featured in her book just published this very year! (Nautical Chic, Thames and Hudson, March 2015).

For those that do not know his story, suffice to say here that he was born in Le Locle region of Switzerland to a very young mother Cécile on the 4th April 1915 at a time when the First Great war had begun ravaging most of Europe and poverty and hardship was a feature of his early years spent in Switzerland and France. Through precocious talent and determination however, he won several important art prizes as a boy and was able to attend the Beaux Arts in Paris, take a four year commercial Art degree course at Glasgow School of Art and become the leading fashion illustrator of Vogue magazine in war torn London, working alongside other great figures such as the famous photographer Lee Miller or the illustrator ‘Eric’. Moreover, during his stay in London he was to meet many noteworthy persons of the time such as the sculptor Epstein who bought his art materials in the same London shop. It was then also that the young artist was invited for week-end stays by such figures of the ‘beau monde’ as the Duke and Duchess of Argyle at their country estate in Scotland and from whom he rented a Chelsea flat while teaching fashion drawing at Bromley School of Art where he met June, his wife to be. At the same time he was exhibiting at the Redfern Gallery in the West end of London -which despite the disruptions of bombing raids and other hardships were determined to continue to keep British ‘morale up’ with continuing cultural events- no matter what… Then after the war, he was able to return to Paris and pursued and developed his art in France, Spain and Switzerland where he worked until his death.

As Art historians and critics have remarked this is an artist of importance not to be forgotten. We invite you, dear friends, to celebrate his memory and his work!

Louise Jacot-Descombes (April 2016)