Alexandre Roubtzoff is not very renowned among art lovers. Surely his personality has got something to do with it, for he wished his whole life he would be able to avoid journalists. Even so, when he dies in Tunis in 1949, he already has a bit of a name.

And this name is forever bound to Tunisia and is a testimony of the richness and flourishment of art in Tunis in-between the wars.

Nowadays, the artist benefits from the renewed interest in orientalism that has been contributing for several years now to put on the foreground many great artists who remained in the shadows of others for too long.

 

"Is there in Tunis an artist more dedicated, more prolific, more constantly bewitched by the desire to paint, than Alexandre Roubtzoff ?
And more disinterested. His constant good mood,
his mysterious smile, his kindness and curtesy
had him conquer the heart of people
from all circles."

Alexandre Fichet, 1937

 

But isn't there something else we may admire, other than the orientalist part of his work, him who was known as the painter of light and chromatic effects, so acclaimed by critics ?
Indeed, his major, and probably best, pieces of work were made in North Africa, but Paris or even Venice deserve some credit. There are other reasons why we recently rediscovered his art. Art history cannot just content itself with compiling a few famous names, especially when it has to deal with such a rich period as the first half of the 20th century.


"Ninety percent of the artists are forgotten ten minutes after their death."
This cannot be more false if applied to Roubtzoff. Only a few months after his death, his works were displayed at the "Tunis Exhibit" of 1950, and also in 1951 and 1952. That year, an Alexandre Roubtzoff prize is even instated. And in 1951, his friend Pierre Dumas wrote the first book entirely dedicated to the artist. All this is a proof, if one was needed, of his popularity and the mark he left among the other painters in Tunisia. More than just his paintings, it is his touching personality and his human qualities everybody seemed to praise.


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