Much of Rouault’s work remained indebted to his apprenticeship with glaziers as a teenager. The artist retained an enduring passion for this craft, and the juxtaposition of the vibrant greens, yellows and reds and the use of heavy contours resembling lead tracery reflect his early training. Rouault returns to the craft with the present work, a design for a stained-glass window executed by Jean Herbert-Stevens in 1939. More on this work
Georges Rouault, (French, 1871–1958), was a French artist whose work melded Fauvism and Expressionism with its jewel-like tones and bold graphic lines. Alongside Henri Matisse, André Derain, Rouault culled from his spiritual fervor and knowledge of medieval stained glass to produce resonating portraits, landscapes, religious scenes, and still lifes. In one of his hallmark works The Old King (1916-1936), the painter poetically explores the power of symbolism and primary colors. “For me, painting is a way to forget life. It is a cry in the night, a strangled laugh,” he once reflected. Born on May 27, 1871 in Paris, France, he apprenticed with a stain glass artisan while studying at the École des Arts Décoratifs, he later studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under the famed Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau, who became an influential mentor. Between 1895 and 1898, the artist became a devout Roman Catholic as well as going through an emotional breakdown. He came out of this revitalized, moralistic and religious, Rouault displayed an interest in the flaws of society and began frequenting Parisian courts of law to find subjects to paint. Throughout the remainder of his career, much of his work was devoted to the depiction of prostitutes, clowns, and Christ. Rouault died on February 13, 1958 in Paris, France at the age of 86. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Tate Gallery in London, among others. More on Georges Rouault
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