FRANCE, C. 1930
23 X 18.5 INCHES
Elisabeth Boehm Ronget was born in 1896 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.
n 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.