The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Roger Marx, 1859-1913

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1859
Place of Birth: Nancy
Date of Death: 1913
Place of Death: Paris


Roger Marx was a civil servant, art critic, journalist, writer and collector. His son Claude Roger-Marx (1888-1977) was also an art critic, journalist, writer and collector, who donated drawings to the Louvre in 1974 and 1978. He had another son Pierre Roger-Marx.


Marx, who became a prolific writer and defender of the avant-garde, began his career writing for the Progrès de l'Est in 1878, and in 1882 he published Etudes d'art lorrain. In 1882 he was also appointed Secrétaire des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and succeeded Jules Castagnary as Directeur de l'Administration des Beaux-Arts in 1887. In 1889 he became Inspecteur des Musées de Province and was responsible for organising the great Exposition Universelle in this year.

In 1891 he instituted a new section for the decorative arts at the Salon and was instrumental in the acquisition of Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother (YMSM 101) by the French government. JW, acknowledging this in a letter of the early 1890s, wrote 'I was very touched by your sympathy - and flattered to know that in you, I have found an expression of approbation by the new generation, of which you represent refined and independent tastes'. In recognition of his support, JW sent Marx a small etching (#10590). JW was in correspondence with Marx at various points throughout the 1890s. Writing to him in May 1899 to invite him to dinner, he spoke of 'the flattering and overwhelming kindness - you have always shown me' (#09302).

Marx, who had a significant collection of contemporary drawings and prints, was friendly with a large number of artists including Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissarro, whom he persuaded to exhibit at the Exposition Universelle in 1900, and also Paul Cézanne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Auguste Rodin and Eugène Carrière. The latter painted Marx in 1885 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) and his son Pierre in 1886 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris).

Marx was a contributor to the Gazette des beaux-arts from 1895, and its editor from 1905. He also edited L'Image and Les Maîtres de l'affiche, and was one of the founders of L'Estampe originale.


Marx, Roger, Etudes d'art lorrain, Paris, 1882; Marx, Roger, Henri Regnault, Paris, 1886; Marx, Roger, Etudes sur l'école française, Paris, 1903; Marx, Roger, L'Art social, Paris, 1913; Marx, Roger, Maîtres d'hier et d'aujourd'hui, Paris, 1914.

Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995; 'Roger Marx', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 6 June 2003).