Felicien Joseph Victor Rops Biography

Felicien Joseph Victor Rops




Felician Joseph Victor Rops was born in Namur, Belgium on July 7, 1883, the son of a textile manufacturer. At age 20 Felician moved to Brussels, where he attended the Académie de Saint-Luc and began creating satirical lithographs which were published in the student magazine Le Crocodile and he became locally famous as a caricaturist. Rops married in 1857 and had two children, one of which died in childhood. Rops produced a number of etchings as illustrations for childrens books by C. de Coster.

In 1862 he went to Paris where he met the etchers Felix Braquemond and Jules Jacquemart. His activity as a lithographer ceased about 1865, and he became a restless experimenter with etching techniques. Rops met Charles Baudelaire towards the end of the poet's life in 1864, and Baudelaire left an impression upon him that lasted until the end of his days. Rops created the frontispiece for Baudelaire's Les Épaves, a selection of poems from Les Fleurs du mal that had been censored in France, and which therefore were published in Belgium.His association with Baudelaire and with the art he represented won his work the admiration of many other writers, including Théophile Gautier, Alfred de Musset and Stéphane Mallarmé to name a few. He was closely associated with the literary movement of ‘Symbolism and Decadence.’ Rops became best known for his printmaking.

Rops often combined soft-ground etching—a technique practiced by few artists of his day often adding mezzotint or aquatint, and sometimes adding hand-coloring to his plates. His etchings were popular, and influenced many younger artists, including Symbolists such as Edvard Munch and Max Klinger.

With his second wife, Léontine, he had one daughter, Claire, who went on to marry the Belgian author Eugène Demolder. After the failure of this marriage, Rops moved to Paris in 1874 where he lived with two sisters, Aurélie and Léontine Duluc.

Rops was one of the founding members of Société Libre des Beaux-Arts of Brussels (Free Society of Fine Arts, 1868–1876) and Les XX ("The Twenty", formed 1883). Rops's eyesight began to fail in 1892. He kept up his literary associations until his death. Félicien Rops was a freemason and a member of the Grand Orient of Belgium. He died on August 23, 1898 in Essonnes, France