Rouge ( 1867 - 1950 )
a local writer, knew Frederic Rouge well. In the following text he describes
the artist's life and very likable personality.
Frederic Rouge was
born in Aigle, on 27 April 1867. His parents owned a small shoe factory.
He attended Aigle secondary school and several of his school fellows,
such as Jules Amiguet, Gustave Doret and Samuel Cornut, also went on
to make a name for themselves. As a child, Frederic Rouge, who was to
become the best-known figurative painter of the Vaudois Alps, already
showed remarkable promise in drawing - a talent, he said, inherited
from his mother.
After school, he attended the Fine Arts College in Basel for a year,
coming first of his class at the end of the course. Then, after a while
studying in Solothurn under Vigier, a history painter, he came back
home to live with his parents, who had by then handed their business
over to their other son, François. Their father set Frederic
up in a studio in a gallery behind the dairy in the Rue du Collège.
To perfect his technique, the artist spent three consecutive winters
at the Julian Academy in Paris "where Professor Boulanger, exacting
and irascible, was hard to please". "By that time, the painter
Eugène Burnand was already wellknown and exhibiting in Paris,
while Frederic Rouge and Samuel Cornut were freezing in a garret."
Laurels of Success
Frederic Rouge, a scrupulous, conscientious artist, somewhat resented
the fact that he received so little recognition whilst some avant-garde
artists were more successful, more fashionable. Luckily he could rely
on many devoted admirers and friends. On March 5th, 1942 he had the
immense satisfaction of being presented - at the same time as the composer,
Gustave Doret - with the honorary citizenship of Aigle, his home town.
a Favourite Spot
In 1903, Frederic Rouge settled in Ollon, not far from Aigle, in a pleasant
house called "The Cedars". Today Ollon is still a large village
surrounded by orchards and vineyards bathed in sunshine, its dense forests
teeming with wildlife, and where the Alpine scenery reigns supreme -
indeed ideal for someone like Rouge. He wholeheartedly loved this region
which provided him with so many subjects of inspiration, and whose every
season, scene and mood he rendered so faithfully.
Frederic Rouge was suffering from paralysis when he died on 13 February
1950. All his life he had remained unassuming, an honest man and a great
artist, true to his ideals, a citizen devoted to the cause of liberty
- perhaps not the best way to make one's fortune, even for a painter
of talent !
* * * *