Georges Rouault Profil

Artist: Georges Rouault
Medium: Etching and aquatint on Rives paper
Title: Profil
Portfolio: The Reincarnations of Pere Ubu
Year: 1955
Edition: 210
Image Size: 7 3/4" x 11 3/4"
Sheet Size: 12 1/8" x 17 1/4"
Signed: Initialed and dated in the plate
 

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Georges Rouault Profil

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Artist Biography

Profil is plate number 7 from Ambroise Vollard's Les Réincarnations du Père Ubu. For many years, the author and publisher Vollard was preoccupied with the character of Ubu from Alfred Jarry's political satire Ubu Roi, from 1896. Vollard's version of the story, published in 1932, contained a sequence of twenty-two illustrations by Georges Rouault, which he completed by 1928. These illustrations, which feature Rouault's dramatic and intense visual style, marked the artist's earliest use of photogravure techniques, and display a combination of etching and aquatint.

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Georges Henri Rouault was born in 1873 to a poor Parisian family. Encouraged by his mother, at fourteen he apprenticed as a glass painter, and at eighteen enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Throughout the 1890s, Rouault met Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, and other artists who would introduce him to the Fauvist art movement. He also met Jacques Maritain, a writer and philosopher whose Spiritualist ideas influenced Rouault's subject matter. Many of Rouault's subjects were religious after this meeting.

Rouault's visual style was unique, and his paintings indicate the influence of the Fauvists and of early European expressionists such as Vincent van Gogh. His training as a glass painter may have also influenced his style, as Rouault depicted his subjects with heavy contours and black lines. These lines give the viewer the impression of colored glass held together with cames (thin pieces of lead fused together to form stained glass windows).

Rouault's first solo exhibit took place at the Galerie Druet in 1910, and by the 1930s he was exhibiting in London and New York. Toward the end his life, Rouault destroyed approximately 300 of his paintings, believing that he would not live long enough to finish them. He died in Paris in 1958.