Roche, Alexander Ignatius (1863-1921) by Scholes, Robert

Alexander Ignatius Roche (1863 – 1921) He was born in Glasgow and studied at the Glasgow School of Art, and in Paris under Boulanger, Gerome, and Lefebvre. Reviewing his work in 1918, Ezra Pound (writing as B. H. Dias) said . He lived mainly in Scotland, exhibiting there and in London, as well as on the Continent. The following sketch is quoted from a web page of the Calton Gallery: A Roche, ‘Cottage Interior,’ sloppy, with derivation, ultimately, from the Dutch (NA 23.16:235) Roche attended some classes at GSA while working in an architect’s office. His real art training came in Paris where he studied under Boulanger, Gerome and Lefebvre. While in Paris he met several other Scottish students including William Kennnedy, Sir John Lavery and Thomas Millie Dow and together they painted at Grez-Sur-Loing, all influenced by Bastien-Lepage. In 1885 Roche returned to Glasgow where he painted a number of romantic pictures of girls in gardens, interiors or in landscape, such as (RA 1890). He moved to a cottage on the banks of the Luggie in Dunbartonshire and there some of his best landscapes were painted. The Shepherdess He also painted a number of idylls with young girls set in summer landscapes. This direction was reinforced by two trips to Italy in the early 1890s when he painted peasants in the Sabine Hills, but in 1896 Roche moved to Edinburgh and began to paint portraits and figure studies. His sense of colour and confident brushwork were well suited to portraiture and in his later years this became his main output, spending some time in the USA fulfilling portrait commissions. He won a gold medal at Munich 1891, an Hon. Mention at the Paris Salon 1892 and a gold medal at Dresden 1897. Elected ARSA 1894 and RSA 1900, he exhibited at the RSA from 1887 – 1976 and at the RA from 1890 – 1919. Roche was considered a member of the Glasgow School, but after the 1880s he was on the fringes of the movement.

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