christian berstart brut
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“Prophet” Royal Robertson spent most of his life in Louisiana with his wife and eleven children. Trained as a sign painter, his paranoid schizophrenia triggers his a prodigious creative fever. Ethereal ascents, portraits of deities, futuristic architectures alike “show houses” of a world to come, it is as if he had descended from his planet, carrying his own Tablets of Stone. Featured in countless international collections, such as the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (USA) or the Musée national d’Art moderne (Pompidou), his work was presented in 2018-19 in the travelling exhibition Into The Unknown, produced by the Barbican (London) and curated by Patrick Gyger.

Royal Robertson - © christian berst — art brut
Date 1936 — 1997
Country United States

“Prophet” Royal Robertson was born in Louisiana in 1936. As a young man, he migrated to the West Coast where he worked alternately in the fields or as a sign painter. He later returned to his homeland of Louisiana to care for his dying mother and to marry Adell in 1955, a woman who would ultimately give him 11 children.

This peaceful, albeit tough, life was gradually devastated by the paranoid schizophrenia from which Royal suffered. His sickly jealousy and delusional outbursts eventually broke apart his family and, as he became more and more lonely, the world became more and more hostile to him. Royal, a self-anointed prophet without disciples, lived resolutely in a mythical space-time. His existence was chiefly punctuated by the incessant travels back and forth between the intimacy of his home—whose access is bristled with warnings—and the extraterrestrial lands from which he drew his consolation.

Each of his “journeys” seemingly gave rise to a work carried by an eschatological breath. On their surfaces, Royal tracks evidence of his wife’s supposed infidelities as the perpetuation of original sin, combined with other furious condemnations and litanies of unpardonable trespasses. Royal used his skill as a sign painter at the service of a pop gospel, both historical and hysterical, with strident colors and hallucinatory typography. His calendars seem to chronicle a magical version of time, punctuated with biblical verses and accompanied by visions that seem to emerge from comic books in the service of moral authority and clarity.

Ethereal ascents, portraits of deities or “Martian” aristocrats, and futuristic architecture that appear as “model homes” for a world to come, it is as if Royal Robertson, like a Moses of modern times, had come down from his planet bearing stone tablets with commandments of his own. In search of redemption—ours as well as his own—Prophet Royal Robertson died in 1997, five years after Hurricane Andrew destroyed away his home and preaching haven.

Represented in the largest collections in Europe and the United States, Royal Robertson is a major figure in art brut.

Please contact us to inquire about the available works.
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1991
22.05 x 27.95 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1992
22.05 x 27.95 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1993
21.65 x 27.95 in
untitled - © christian berst — art brut
untitled, 1992
21.65 x 27.95 in
Preacher & Ezekiel - © christian berst — art brut
Preacher & Ezekiel, 1997
21.65 x 27.56 in
Prophet Royal Robertson space gospel
Prophet Royal Robertson : space gospel - © christian berst — art brut

Preface : Pierre Muylle
Foreword : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition Prophet Royal Robertson : space gospel, from October 27th to November 19th, 2016.
Revised and expanded version published in 2022.

The words to say it #1
curator: laurianne melierre, main gallery. From April 11 to May 11, 2024.
Culturas Paralelas:
works from the treger saint silvestre collection, Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto, Portugal. From February 17 to April 22, 2023.
drawing now
#15, Carreau du Temple, Paris. From May 19 to 22, 2022.
Hey !
the drawing, Halle Saint-Pierre, Paris. From January 22 to December 31, 2022.
Art Brut in the Giacosa-Ferraiuolo collection, Rome. From September 25, 2021 to January 30, 2022.
View more
online viewing rooms, online. From March 4 to 7, 2021.
Sereno variavel
curated by Antonia Gaeta, Centro de Arte Oliva, São João da Madeira. From October 31, 2020 to May 2, 2021.
face to face
curated by gaël charbau, the bridge. From October 22, 2020 to January 24, 2021.
Sexual Personae
curated by Alison M. Gingeras, Hôtel Drouot, Paris. From October 21 to 29, 2020.
galeristes art fair
at Le Carreau du Temple. From October 18 to 20, 2019.
visionary architecture
oliva creative factory. From May 14 to June 15, 2019.
on the edge of the visible and the invisible, at the gallery. From March 7 to April 13, 2019.
Maison Rouge, Paris. From June 16 to October 28, 2018.
do the write thing 2
read between the lines, at the gallery. From April 26 to June 2, 2018.
drawing now 2018
Carreau du Temple. From March 22 to 25, 2018.
architectural dwellings, at the gallery. From December 9, 2017 to January 20, 2018.
In and out of Africa
Oliva Creative Factory, Portugal. From October 7, 2017 to April 7, 2018.
The Museum of everything
Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania. From June 17, 2017 to April 2, 2018.
Into The Unknown
A Journey Through Science Fiction, Barbican, Londres. From June 3 to September 1, 2017.
The Golden Ratio Laws
Oliva Creative Factory, Portugal. From April 29 to September 30, 2017.
Prophet Royal Robertson
Space Gospel, at the gallery. From October 27 to November 19, 2016.
Textual Poetry of Art Brut, Entrepot Gallery, Monaco. From July 12 to September 29, 2016.
On The Wire
by Jean-Hubert Martin, at the gallery. From April 9 to May 22, 2016.
The Museum Of Everything
Kunsthal, Rotterdam. From March 5 to May 22, 2016.
Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne. From November 13, 2015 to April 17, 2016.
System and vision
David Zwirner gallery, New York. From February 28 to April 18, 2015.
do the write thing
read between the lines, new york gallery. From October 30 to December 21, 2014.
american outsiders I
the black south, at the gallery. From June 19 to July 18, 2009.
Les transports de l’art brut, at the gallery. From June 6 to July 19, 2008.
salon du dessin contemporain
From April 10 to 14, 2008.
vue de l'exposition *visionary architecture*, lisbon architecture triennale, works of the treger saint silvestre collection, oliva creative factory, sao joao da madeira, portugal, 2019. - © oliva creative factory, christian berst — art brut
view of the christian berst art brut gallery booth A8, drawing now art fair, le carreau du temple, Paris, 2022 - © christian berst — art brut
*sur le fil, by jean-hubert martin*, christian berst art brut & jean brolly galleries, paris, from april 9th to may 22th, 2016. - © christian berst — art brut
Royal Robertson - © christian berst — art brut
Press review
christian berst art brut unveils two new exhibitions
Photos : Michaël Huard, Saywho. April 16, 2024.
Portraits (plus ou moins) bruts
Marc Lenot, Lunettes Rouges, Le Monde. October 3, 2023.
L’Art Brut. De Dubuffet à Bowie. Confidences du galeriste Christian Berst
Joseph Achoury Klejman, Best. June 5, 2022.
Fiac Online viewing rooms : notre sélection
Alexandre Crochet, The Art Newspaper. February 28, 2021.
First Casino on the Moon
Ansel Elkins, Oxford American. August 11, 2020.
View more
Vincent Sator et Christian Berst des galeristes peu sages
Marie-Hélène Fabre, November 26, 2016.
L’art brut mis en avant à la galerie l’Entrepôt
Monaco Info. July 14, 2016.
Sur le fil
Laurent Boudier Et Bénédicte Philippe, Télérama Sortir. April 20, 2016.
Text Messages from the Margins
Rob Colvin, Hyperallergic. December 8, 2014.
mea culpa + mea felicita
Philippe Ducat, Oh Cet Echo. November 14, 2012.
American outsiders - The Black South
Télérama Sortir. July 15, 2009.
National Gallery of art
United States
Smithsonian Museum Of American Art
United States
Musée national d’art moderne (Pompidou)
collection de l’Art brut
High Museum of Art
United States
View more
Carmen and Daniel Klein collection
Antoine Frérot collection
Treger Saint Silvestre collection
Piet Meyer collection
Emmanuelle and Guy Delcourt collection
American Folk Art Museum
United States
African American Museum of Dallas
United States
Art Museum of Southeast Texas
United States
Birmingham Museum of Art
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
The Louisiana State Museum
United States
Mississippi Museum of Art
United States
New Orleans Museum of Art
United States
Rockford Art Museum
United States
St. Jame Place Folk Art Museum
United States
Minneapolis Institute of Art
United States
Royal robertson space gospel
Language French
Royal Robertson

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