5 Reasons To Be A Roy – Not an Awry De Maistre Fan

Leroy Leveson Laurent Joseph “Roy” De Maistre was born Leroy Livingstone de Mestre in Bowral, New South Wales, Australia on 27th March 1894 into a home of high social standing. He was educated by tutors and governesses at the family home along with his siblings. He studied painting at the Royal Art Society of New South Wales in the Post-Impressionist style, alongside fellow students such as; Norah Simpson, Grace Cossington-Smith and Roland Wakelin, Later on he studied under Norman Carter and also at Julian Ashton’s Sydney Art School.

  • In March 1930 he left Australia to live in London. He held one-man shows at the Beaux Arts Gallery, London (1930); in the studio of his colleague Francis Bacon (1930); Bernheim Jeune, Paris (1932); Mayor Gallery, London (1934); and at the Calmann Gallery, London (1938). Soon after moving to London, de Maistre began a relationship with Francis Bacon.

After growing up as an Anglican, de Maistre converted to Catholicism in 1949 and was confirmed two years later. It was after this time that de Maistre’s oeuvre included a combination of iconic powers of Biblical imagery and a certain modernist savagery. This painting is an example of his synthetic cubist jigsawery; where he effectively uses synthesis of representation and abstraction in a single depiction. It therefore displays an energetic, passionate solemnity; along with a grandeur of feeling fully befitting its powerful mythic subject.

  • Roy de Maistre died on 1st March, 1968.

Images above include:

  1. Studio interior (oil on canvas 74×49.5cm)
  2. Portrait of Francis Bacon (ca 1935 – oil on board). Exhibited at: Roy de Maitsre. A Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings – Whitechapel Art Gallery, London May-June 1960.
  3. Jacob Wrestling the Angel (1958) oil on board 90x140cm. It was exhibited at: The Religious Theme: Tate Gallery, London 10 July – 21 August 1958.
  4. The Footballers (oil on canvas 91x135cm). Exhibited: Homage to Roy de Maistre: A Memorial Retrospective, Joseph Brown Gallery, Melbourne, April-May 1971, is one of a variety of paintings depicting sporting contestants. Others in this series include, The Cricketers, The Tennis Player and a number of football pictures including both rugby and soccer codes. The Footballers is purported to be a depiction of the 1937 FA Cup Final between Sunderland (in red and white stripes and Preston North End (white with striped socks). The outcome of the match: Sunderland won 3:1.
  5. Arrested Movement from a Trio (1935) oil and pencil on composition board.  It was during this time that de Maistre, in collaboration with Roland Wakelin, made experimental studies based on the relationship between colour and music; and developed  a colour-music scale in which colours were related to notes. Arrested Movement From a Trio is a continuation of this earlier engagement with colour-music.

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