The anguish expressed in the art of Marcel Roux – a complex blend of asceticism and decadence – makes him a unique and haunting figure. Roux was born in Bessenay (Rhône), where there is now a Musée Marcel Roux celebrating his art. After studying at the Beaux-Arts in Lyon, he became a pupil of Paul Borel. Both men shared a passionate, almost unhealthily fervent Catholicism. In Marcel Roux this devout faith is so feverish in its intensity it resembles no artists more than the princes of darkness, Félicien Rops and Charles Baudelaire. Marcel Roux was inspired to specialise in etching after seeing the etchings of Rembrandt. Rembrandt’s mastery of light and shade can be seen in Marcel Roux’s etchings, but they also have the phantasmagorical passion of Goya. Essentially a visionary, working within a Symbolist aesthetic, Marcel Roux was haunted by the idea of death and hell, and tormented by a sense of social injustice and human suffering. As a result, religious and social themes intertwine in his work in a mysterious and powerful way.Marcel Roux’s health never recovered from his experiences as a medical orderly in WWI, and he died prematurely in 1922 at the age of only 44.
Site of the Marcel Roux Museum: http://ampaen.mumaro.free.fr/index.html