The Foundation Georges Rouault has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Please note its correct title is Trois clowns. According to the Fondation Georges Rouault the signature lower left is not by the artist's hand, and it has therefore been removed.
ROUAULT AND THE CIRCUS
Rouault was drawn to the theme of the circus early in his career, through memories of traveling fairground troupes that he had seen as a boy. This subject figured prominently in his 'fauve' watercolors done around 1905 (see lot 121). The dealer and publisher Ambroise Vollard was also an aficionado of the circus, and during the 1920s he frequently shared his season's box at the Cirque d'Hiver with his artist friends. In 1927 Chagall painted a series of nineteen gouaches that became known as the Cirque Vollard. Vollard published Rouault's first book of circus illustrations, Cirque, in 1930 (see lot 115). It included eight color aquatints and the same number of black and white wood engravings. In 1931 Rouault began a series of gouaches that were made into the color aquatints and black and white wood engravings that comprised his second and much larger circus book, Cirque de l'étoile filante, which Vollard published in 1938 (see lots 116-117).
Property from the Collection of Nathan L. Halpern