top of page

Narcisse Guilbert (1878-1942) and the School of Rouen
from June 10 to July 11, 2021

The School of Rouen

On the fringes of the impressionist movement famous throughout the world, Rouen was the cradle of the post-impressionist movement.

This current housed for many years a prestigious school of painting known today as the School of Rouen. painters such asAlbert Lebourg, Charles Angrand, Robert-Antoine Pinchon, Marcel Couchaux, Charles Fréchon, Joseph Delattre, Narcisse Guilbert, Maurice Louvrier, Narcisse Hénoquemake up this school, among others. Many more follow

In Normandy, the school of Rouen is defined as a group of young painters born between 1849 and 1890 in Rouen and in the region of the banks of the Seine.

These painters from the school of Rouen succeeded through their works in expressing their attachment to their native land but also in capturing the changing and foggy aerial atmosphere, so particular to the banks of the Seine and the Normandy bocage.

Narcissus Guilbert (1878-1942)

Narcisse Guilbert was born in the middle of the Normandy countryside about twenty-five kilometers west of Rouen. His modest family later moved to the gates of Rouen, to Mont-Saint-Aignan, then finally to Rouen in 1890. The young boy sketched, surveyed the recently opened city museum; his first attempts at watercolor date from 1884, he tries oil in 1895, copies the old ones and paints his mother. At 17, he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he met Joseph Delattre with whom he befriended. He will join him as soon as he founds his "Free Academy". While continuing his activity as a courier-deliverer, he became a Sunday painter and went to Croisset, in the meadows of Pré-au-Loup which would become his favorite motifs during his life, motifs on which he followed Delattre. He exhibited in 1905 at the Legrip gallery and was present at the first exhibition of the Société des Artistes Rouennais. All art critics are unanimous on the quality of Guilbert's painting and encourage him. In 1908 he held his first private exhibition and brought together around thirty paintings, where many amateurs showed up, including Ernest Bories who offered the artist to give up his job to devote himself totally to his art by paying him a monthly allowance. Guilbert accepts and thus becomes a professional artist at the age of 30. Many exhibitions follow one another then he is mobilized in 1918. Back in the 20s he will spend time near Etretat where he paints several canvases. In 1929 he spent the summer in Tréport and from 1930 to 1938 he lived in Veules-les-Roses during the holidays. In the 1940s, living conditions became difficult for artists and devaluations followed one another. Guilbert remained faithful to his Rouen motifs and took part in a final exhibition in 1941 at the Hôtel de la Couronne. Fernand Guey, curator of the School of Fine Arts in Rouen will say of him "In all these works - so diverse - we find the solid technique of the excellent landscape painter, the freedom and the ease of his brush which, as a faithful interpreter, translates the emotion felt in front of nature, in the most sensitive and the safest".

photo Guilbert
Expo Rouen
bottom of page