Georges Gasté

Date(s) - 12/12/2014 - 23/12/2014
11:00 am - 7:00 pm

Galerie Romain Rolland


Alliance Française de Delhi

Embassy of France in India & Institut Français en Inde


a Photo Exhibition


Exhibition-on-view from 12-December to 23-December 2014, 11am to 8pm

 Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance Française de Delhi

72, Lodi Estate, New Delhi – 110003


GASTÉ’S LIFE (1869 – 1910)

Born in Paris on the 30thAugust 1869, Constant Georges Gasté was the son, grandson, and nephew of a painting trading family from Chablis. Fatherless at two years old and an only child, he had a lonely childhood. He took “Atelier Colarossi” classes and just after his 18th birthday went to the “École des Beaux Arts” at the Alexandre Cabanel Studio.

During a trip to Morocco, Algeria and Palestine in 1892, he learnt about the southern light. It was a revelation for him and he decided to become an Orientalist. In 1893, he got noticed by the painter Etienne Dinet who welcomed him to Bou-Saâda, Algeria. Gasté went on many trips to the oasis at the desert’s gates while travelling across North Africa. From 1893 to 1898, he regularly sent his paintings to the French Artists’ Salon in Paris and received quite a few rewards. From 1898, he settled for 4 years in Cairo where he painted endlessly. Using both canvas and film (Gasté was also a brilliant photographer), he captured the daily life of the country full of dust and sand. From then on, he would only go back a few times to France.

In 1903, after travelling through Spain and again through Morocco, he started dreaming of far-away countries. In 1905, it was “the mystical land of the Indies”, settling first in Agra on the riverside along the Taj Mahal. He was seduced by the Muslim India, which inspired his paintings full of humanity. In 1906, numerous works of art, both landscape and portraits, were displayed in the Orientalist Exhibition and people started to pay attention to the artist. In 1908, after travelling to Venice and Constantinople, the artist returned this time to south India to Madurai, capital of the Tamil land and a major place of Hinduism, where he trained several students at his workshop. From then on, his palette was enlivened by warm shades and enamelled glow, which reminded of Gustave Moreau (Une Dewa-dassy, prêtres seet servante des dieux, Orsay Museum). In 1909, he got permission (unusual for a European) to spend six months inside the great temple of Madurai to create several paintings: among them, Le Bain des brahmines, placed today at the Orsay Museum, critically-acclaimed at the Paris Salon in 1910.

Despite an ever-increasing notoriety, Gasté died alone in his Indian workshop on the 12th of September during that same year at 41 years. His emotional life mixed with a depressive nature, got the better of the one who used to claim: “we cannot thwart one’s own destiny, it is the only thing that drives us”. A retrospective of his work was organized at the Orientalist Painters Salon in 1911. Gasté was honoured as THE Indies Painter. In 1913 another retrospective was planned at the Grand Palais, showing in particular his Indian work.

Curator of the Exhibition: Aude de TOCQUEVILLE

Georges Gasté, traquer le soleil dans l’ombre, foreword by Yasmina Khadra, Arthaud, 2013 is a book by Aude de Tocqueville, an expert on the architectural and artistic heritage of the different French regions.

 For more information, please write to [email protected]