Jose Roosevelt

J. R. was born 1958 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.His family moved to Brasília, the new capital of the country, in 1960, two months after the inauguration of the city. J. R. did his primary and secondary studies in Brasilia. At a young age, he showed already a talent for drawing. At the age of fifteen, J.R. discovered the paintings of Dalí and painted his first picture, an oil on canvas.
Four years later, after being disappointed at the Fine Arts School of the University of Brasília (he frequented it for only six months), he decided to build a career as a painter and began to work with constance and method.
In 1979, he showed for the first time one of his works to the public, in
taking part of a "salon" of drawings and etchings. Some months later, he did his first individual exhibition. He showed figurative paintings (acrylics on canvas) and drawings (Indian ink on paper), of surrealistic inspiration.
In 1981, he tried some new experiments in painting: hyper-realism (inspired by the north-american painters like Don Eddy and Ralph Goings) and optical art (in the manner of Chuck Close). These experiments ended six years later, when fantasy took again first place in his production. Even in these years of experimentation, J.R. never abandoned the surreal themes, returning to them all the time.
In 1986, after a stay with the indians in a reservation, he made a series of paintings using Indian themes, mixing their iconography and legends with his personal inventions.
In 1988, J.R. went to Europe for the first time: he was invited to show his pictures in Switzerland. He visited Paris, Rome, Florence and the Netherlands. The next year, he did an exhibition in Rome and participated in a group exhibition in Paris.
These two first years in Europe were decisive for him: he definitively replaced the acrylics with the oils and his painting improved very much with the study of the masterworks that he could see when visiting the European museums.
In 1990, J. R. married Fabienne Gapany, a girl from the typical swiss region Gruyère. He installed his atelier in the village of Riaz, and after in Bulle.
From this year on, he made several exhibitions in Switzerland (Fribourg, Bern, Yverdon, Geneva, Basel, Montreux, Nyon, Lausanne and, mainly, in the International Center of Fantastic Art of the Castel of Gruyères).
In 1991, he published the comics book "La Ville" ("The City"), work that he did in Brazil in the 1980's. In 1993, he published a collection of his best drawings in the book "Roosevelt: Dessins". Besides his paintings, J.R. made several illustrations, especially of the magical trips of The Holiday Passport of the city of Fribourg, commanded by Hubert Audriaz.
In 1996, he made 96 illustrations for Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland". In the same year, he published a catalog with the best paintings of the period 1990 / 1995. In 1997, J.R. began to exhibit regularly in Paris. From the following year on, he became a member of the S.N.B.A. (National Society of Fine Arts) of France, and of the SAFIR (Society of Fantastic, Imaginary and Oniric Art), equally in Paris.
The same year, he moved with his wife and his atelier to Lausanne. Between april 2000 and january 2001, he published the comics book trilogy "L'Horloge" ("The Clock"). In this trilogy, he introduces his own oil paintings in a fabulous story with fantastic characters and landscapes. In 2002 J.R. became his own editor. He published the book "La table de Vénus", an illustrated story in black and white where the main characters try to solve the enigma of an old book about the Antichrist. Two new books are planned for 2003: "Derfal le magnifique" and "A l'ombre des Coquillages". For the time being, all his works are available only in the French language.