Georges Rouault, 1871- 1958
An exhibition of paintings and prints by Georges Rouault (French, 1871-1958) features the artist's well known painting The Chinese Man (1937), his gouache entitled Two Nudes (1906-08) and selections from his etched albums Miserere of 1916-17 dealing with the miseries of war, and Passion (1935-36) which uses figures from the life of Christ as its subjects. Other etchings on display include selections from the suite Les Fleurs du Mal III of 1936-38 based upon poems by Baudelaire.
At the age of fourteen, Rouault served as an apprentice to a stained glass artisan. Six years later, he began his training as a painter in Gustav Moreau's studio, where he met Matisse and other future Fauves. Although he was an Expressionist in style and subject matter, he became associated with the Fauves and exhibited with them at the Salon d'Automne in 1904.
A simple, deeply pious man, his work primarily depicts religious subjects and represents themes of moral content—his Christianity being less concerned with redemption than with the lack of man's spiritual union with fellow men. It was not until the age of forty that Rouault turned his attention to printmaking and executed an enormous number of projects in the graphic medium. He expanded the potentials of printmaking by inventing new instruments with which to etch copper plates, such as sandpaper, edged rollers, and scrapers.