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Georges Rouault (1871-1958)
Georges Rouault (1871-1958)

Teresina

Details
Georges Rouault (1871-1958)
Teresina
signed 'G. Rouault' (lower right)
oil on cradled panel
20 ½ x 14 1/8 in. (52 x 36 cm.)
Painted in 1947
Provenance
Acquired by the family of the present owner, by 1955.
Literature
P. Courthion, Georges Rouault, New York, 1977, p. 148 (illustrated in color, pl. 45).
B. Dorival and I. Rouault, Rouault, L'oeuvre peint, Monaco, 1988, vol. II, p. 222, no. 2287 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Marseille, Musée Cantini, Rouault, June-September 1960, no. 47 (illustrated; titled Theresina).
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Rouault, Peintures inconnues ou célèbres, 1965, no. 90 (illustrated; titled Thérésina).
Paris, Musée d'art moderne, Georges Rouault, Exposition du Centenaire, May-September 1971, p. 126, no. 60 (illustrated, p. 127).
Rome, Accademia di Francia, Villa Medici, Honoré Daumier, Georges Rouault, November 1983-February 1984, p. 204, no. 21 (illustrated, p. 156).
Madrid, Fundación Juan March, Rouault, October 1995-January 1996, p. 114, no. 41 (illustrated in color, p. 89).
Lugano, Museo d'Arte Moderna, Georges Rouault, March-June 1997, p. 128, no. 67 (illustrated in color, p. 131).
Sale Room Notice
Please note that the amended medium of this work is oil on card laid down on cradled panel.

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David Kleiweg de Zwaan
David Kleiweg de Zwaan

Lot Essay

Circus performers and the characters of the commedia dell'arte remained Rouault's most frequent subjects throughout his career. The heavily encrusted surface in Teresina is characteristic of Rouault's lyrical, mature style and projects both spiritual gravitas and the very weight and substance of worldly existence. Thick, black contours set off the figure's forms against a radiant and richly textured background. The artist's adept handling of light recalls the effects of stained glass, which he studied as a young apprentice; as James Thrall Soby suggests, Rouault may have absorbed the coloristic influences of Byzantine enamels, Roman mosaics and Coptic tapestries into his late work as well. The warm harmonies of Teresina are a testament to Rouault's mastery of spiritual and emotional color and suggest the artist's graceful acquiescence to the "ideal of art for its own sake," which his early figures so powerfully repudiated, in the serenity of his later years (J.T. Soby, Georges Rouault, Paintings and Prints, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1945, p. 26).
The noble sanctity of this wise and whimsical clown evokes an auspicious soul, one whose philosophical outlook and serenity matched the artist's own, newfound peace in the mid-1940s. "I spent my life painting twilights," Rouault reflected at the time. "I ought to have the right now to paint the dawn" (op. cit., p. 28).
Referring to the present lot in his monograph on the artist, Pierre Courthion observes, "Until about 1956 these close-ups were the occasions for festive outbursts of color, making this period one of the most brilliant in Rouault’s entire career. A woman’s face, as was so often the case with his clowns, was only a pretext for the joy of painting” (op. cit., p. 148).

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