Ker-Xavier Roussel had Theosophist, mystical or Catholic interests34 and took more to the mystical side of Symbolism, as these paintings by Sérusier show.
Born François Xavier Roussel in Lorry-lès-Metz, Moselle in 1867, at age fifteen he studied at the Lycée Condorcet in Paris; alongside his friend Édouard Vuillard, he also studied at the studio of painter Diogène Maillart. In 1888, he enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts, and soon began frequenting the Académie Julian where Maurice Denisand other students formed the group Les Nabis.
He is best known for paintings of French landscapes usually depicting women, children, nymphs, and fauns in bucolic settings. In 1899, Roussel, Vuillard, and his another close friend, Pierre Bonnard, traveled to Lake Como, Venice, and Milan.
Roussel is mentioned in Gertrude Stein‘s Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Chapter 3. There she recounts an exchange he had with Theodore Duret in Vollard’s shop at an uncertain date after 1904. Roussel complained of the lack of recognition that he and the other Nabi painters had to contend with. Duret consoled him by pointing out his incompatibility with the manners and fashions of the bourgeois world and the differences between “art” and “official art”.
In 1926, Ker-Xavier Roussel won the Carnegie Prize for art.
Ker-Xavier Roussel died in 1944 at his home in L’Étang-la-Ville, Yvelines.