Oil on canvas of a dead (partridge) bird with apple signed by the artist Ernest Rocher (1872 – 1938) and dated 1933 The painting is generously painted and mounted in a wooden frame with gilt slip.
Rocher was a mainly Belgian figurative painter, but also painted still lifes and landscapes. The painting dates from around 1925. He was the son of Ernest Maria Joseph and Cathérine Thuns, the youngest of a family of four children. Early in his life, Rocher developed a clear aptitude for drawing and painting. He was enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, where he worked under Jean Portaels .
After the death of his father, he used his share of the inheritance to build a house with a studio in the Darwinstraat in Vorst. He continued to live and work there for the rest of his life.
He entered the painting profession as a decorator: the decorative or artistic painting of walls and ceilings in civilian homes as well as painting on canvas. After the First World War , when decorative painting fell out of fashion, he devoted himself exclusively to painting in the studio.
Rocher was good friends with painters such as Paul Maas , Alfred Bastien and Armand Massonet . He was a member of the art circle "Labor" and of the Cercle Artistique et Littéraire. He often exhibited in the salons of the associations of which he was a member and had numerous exhibitions in the capital and in provincial towns (including 1921, Galerie Aeolian, Brussels, together with S. Van Ysendyck, Mrs. Lambert-Cluysenaer and Armand Massonet). He painted many themes but his landscapes often represented the Ardennes or Brittany or refer to the Flemish coast. In his old age, Rocher focused more on still lifes - flowers, fruits, game and accessories, with a preference for porcelain and silverware.
Rocher started painting in the traditional academic style in the spirit of Jean Portaels, but gradually he came to a looser, freer brush with Impressionist influences. He paid particular attention to the rendering of light. His work shows professional knowledge, but comes across as somewhat outdated for its time.
In 1932 his work was included in an exhibition of Belgian artists in Riga and has work in the Museum at Ostend.