Triste Os from "Cirque de l'Etoile Filante"

Original etching and aquatint printed in colors on Montval laid paper. Dated and signed with
the artist’s monograms in the plate lower left: “1934 GR”. A brilliant impression of the definitive state from the overall edition of 280. Plate 8 of 17 from the suite “Cirque de l’Étoile Filante”
published by Ambroise Vollard and printed by Roger Lacouriere, Paris, 1938. Catalogue reference: Chapon/Rouault 247, Wofsy 326.

The color aquatints that Rouault made for the “Cirque de l’Étoile Filante” mark a culmination
in his career as a printmaker. The circus was one of the most important themes in the artist’s
work. However, his interpretation of the symbolic role of the performer was quite different
from that of either Picasso or Chagall. He was fascinated with the split between their outward
public face and their inner personality. At the time, most circus performers were in essence itinerant and very often extremely impoverished. It was only when they put on their traditional and very often splendid costumes for each performance, that they appeared rich and aloof. This dichotomy of appearance summed up Rouault’s fellings about the two-faced attitudes of
contemporary society.

Signature: Signed lower left "1934 GR"

Publisher: published by Ambroise Vollard and printed by Roger Lacouriere, Paris, 1938.

About Georges Rouault

A pioneering expressionist painter (influenced by the German Expressionists, though not formally associated with that group), Georges Rouault created pictures recognizable for the thick black brushstrokes that outline their subjects, as in le lutteur, no. 3 (1913). Rouault’s works resemble the cloissonisme of decorative glasswork, a look often attributed to the artist’s teenage years spent as a glass painter’s apprentice. In 1891 Rouault enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts and studied closely under Symbolist Gustave Moreau. He later associated with the Fauvists and collaborated with Henri Matisse and André Derain to organize the Salon d’Automne, an exhibition of progressive art rejected by the more conservative Paris Salon. But rather than create pleasing “armchair” pictures like those of many of his contemporaries, Rouault applied his rough painterly style to religious subjects, clowns, and circus performers, using these motifs to reflect on religion, morality, and modern life.

French, May 27, 1871 - February 13, 1958, Paris, France, based in Paris, France