Roger Somville


Roger Somville Biography

Born in Brussels in 1923, Somville lost his father, a worker in marquetry, at an early age. He and his mother faced a precarious material existence. His uncle, a lithographer and early Marxist, was a source of ideological influence. He took drawing lessons at the Royale de Beaux-Art in Brussels (1940–1942), and then went to The Higher National school for Architecture and the Decorative Arts of Brussels, (in the architect atelier Lucien François' atelier). It was here that he would meet the painter Charles Counhaye who was to show him the way to expressive and monumental art (1942–1945).

Somville as a young man he became involved in and was Intensely influenced by the great social movements and conflicts of his day: the rise of fascism, The Spanish Civil War, the workers' movement. He read Marx and Lenin. He admired Bertolt Brecht, Serge Eisenstein, Erwin, Piscator, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin and Eric von Stroheim. His sensibility would lead him to take the part of the underprivileged and those least able to defend themselves: a stand had to be taken against man's exploitation of man and a painter's weapon in the revolutionary cause are his paints and brushes.