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Roger Descombes at Galerie 5 in Geneva

Article by Valy Wanner following the exhibition at “Galerie 5” in Geneva, 14th March – 9th April 1968.


The poetic sentiment arising from Descombes’ paintings is not so much related to the themes selected by the artist as to the spirit which inspires him and which is that of a poet.

The great variety of subjects are linked together by the same creative impulse and the same pictorial purpose from which the work as a whole derives a strong homogeneity.

Descombes’ artistic achievement is mainly that of a draughtsman and an engraver. In Paris and London where he stayed, he contributed to many newspapers and magazines. In his paintings the rhythm of the drawing remains the support of colour, either through the relief of the paste or through the line. The people, treated with a humorous slant blend with the background with shaded hues generally of a same scale, along with a few splashes of bright colour such as in “The Comedians” who stand out against a lush black and “écossais” where an ardent red prevails.

Landscapes, such as “The Windmills” are interpreted in subdued greys and greens, with very sophisticated harmonies and tones. The matter is worked out with small cracks and this art combines decorative and cubist elements from which Descombes derives his own symbiosis.

Valy Wanner
La Suisse, March 1968

Translation by Maurice Pollet

Valy Wanner