FRANCE, C.1935

24 X 19 INCHES

Elisabeth Ronget

Elisabeth Boehm Ronget was born in 1886 in Conitz, Poland.

Ronget’s career as an artist is illustrative of the challenges faced by many artists working at the beginning of the 20th century. Ronget was schooled in traditional styles but quickly became engaged with the new approach modernists were taking. What resulted for Ronget was a body of work hat combines the skill of traditional training with the excitement and exploration encouraged by Cubism.

Ronget developed a passion for drawing at an early age. Her parents recognized her interest and sent her to the School of Fine Arts in Vienna. Her traditional schooling involved academic drawing classes, and copying master paintings in museums.

At the turn of the century Viennese society was exploring the ideas of the avant-garde. Secessionist movements began there as artists rebelled against traditional restrictions on the definitions of art. It soon became apparent to Ronget that what was occurring at a small level in Vienna was taking place on a grander scale in Paris, London and Berlin. Having perfected classical drawing technique, Ronget moved to Berlin in 1926 and became associated with avant-garde artists in the November Group.

In Berlin, Ronget was exposed to Cubism and the works of Der Blaue Reiter that were working in a colorful decorative style similar to the Fauves. With this exposure Ronget understood that the early modernists were proposing an entirely new way of making and considering art. Adopting the new tenets of modernist painting, Ronget began exhibiting her Cubist pieces in restaurants and bookstores. Some pieces were purchased which encouraged her to continue. By 1930 the political situation in Germany had become dangerous and in 1931 Ronget moved to Paris. She enrolled in the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and made a living decorating restaurants as well as designing fabrics and wallpaper for French fashion houses.

In Paris she met and married Paul Ronget, a doctor, who introduced her to painter André Lhote. In Lhote’s studio Ronget discovered color and became familiar with the revolutionary work of Paul Cézanne. Under the influence of Lhote, Ronget’s forms simplified and her palate changed to incorporate earth tones of ochre, browns, mauves and blues. In the academic Cubism, which assimilated by Ronget, forms are flattened and simplified, backgrounds are reduced to fields of geometric pattern. Ronget’s choice of subject matter was in keeping with other Cubists and included card players, musical instruments, and people gathered at bar.

In 1934 Ronget began exhibiting at the Salon d’Automne with André Lhote. A series of one woman exhibitions followed and resulted in sales to collectors throughout Western Europe. In 1941, after the invasion of France, Ronget and her husband moved to Provence. Although she never returned to Paris she continued to participate in exhibitions. In 1946 she showed at the Salon des Indépendants; in 1953 at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles; and in 1956 at the Salon des Surindépendants. Ronget died at the age of 66.