Portfolio > Rocca, Robert

Robert Rocca (Saint-Fons, France 1927)

Born in 1927, Robert Rocca was largely influenced by the 1930s growing up. Internationally this period can be best characterised by the conflict between the world’s foremost political philosophies - Marxist Socialism, Capitalist Democracy, and the Totalitarianism of both Communism and Fascism. In the United States, the Great Depression had a tremendous impact on artistic output, with a number of artists taking inspiration from the agrarian and the humble man in the streets. It was the first time in US history that widespread collectives of artists began to address politics, and attempted to use their art to influence society. Artists focused exhibitions on social and political themes such as poverty, lack of affordable housing, anti-lynching, anti-fascism, and workers' strikes. In Europe, Surrealism continued to be the leading artistic trend; a kind of expression and school of thought that by this time had spread worldwide. In Mexico, artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera incorporated many of these philosophies into their radical political ideologies to develop a new kind of magic realism. In the Soviet Union, Stalin’s government required urgent funds to implement the rapid industrialisation demanded by the first Five Year Plan. It initiated a secret proposal to sell off treasures from the State Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), including a primary list of two hundred and fifty irreplaceable paintings by the Old Masters, many of which found their way to the collection of Andrew Mellon via the New York based art dealing company, Knoedler. The era assumed a sinister turn with the dawn of National Socialism in Germany, and Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. The decade would conclude in the inset on the Second World War; a political and social furore that preoccupied not only artists, but great swathes of the world’s population.


Robert Rocca (Saint-Fons, France 1927)

Robert Rocca est né en 1927 à Saint-Fons dans une famille d’immigrés italiens chassés par le fascisme. Il découvre le dessin à l’école communale. Sous le nom de Bob Roc il deviendra illustrateur pour Fantax, Targa…chez l’éditeur Mouchot à Lyon. « C’était mon truc la sculpture, déjà, sans le savoir ». Après les tourments de la guerre et de l’occupation, et les multiples emplois alimentaires, des cours de modèles vivants aux Beaux Arts en 1957 l’orientent définitivement vers la sculpture et le marbre. Pour subvenir à ses besoins il sera pendant 27 ans illustrateur et maquettiste au Dauphiné Libéré. Avec le temps, il s’affirmera artistiquement jusqu’à acquérir une renommée mondiale. Il est aujourd’hui installé à Saint-Mathieu-de-Tréviers dans une maison, à la fois atelier et galerie d’art, face à l’Hortus et au Pic-Saint-Loup. Ombre et Lumière , une de ses sculptures de 11m se trouve au rond-point du Château d’O depuis 2009. Il est fait Chevalier des Arts et Lettres en 2011.