Georges Henri Rouault (French, 1871–1958) was an Expressionist painter, although he is also associated with the French Fauvists of his era. He was born in a Belleville cellar, at a time when French troops bombed the Paris neighborhood in an effort to stop the Paris Commune government. The artist left home at the age of 14, and was apprenticed to a stained-glass artist.

Rouault attended the Ecole des Beaux-Art and eventually would study under the symbolic artist, Gustave Moreau (French, 1826–1898). Rouault was a favorite pupil, and a special bond formed between the teacher and student. Rouault garnered some prestige by winning the Prix Chenavard with his religious-themed painting, L’Enfant Jésus parmi les docteurs. The artist was influenced by his writer friends, J. K. Huysmans and Leon Bloy, intellectuals who argued against the artwork that was officially approved by the Catholic Church. Rouault believed that the ultimate purpose of art was personal expression, and that it did not always have to depict subjects exactly as they appeared in reality. The artist also followed the philosophical teachings of his friend Jacques Maritain.

Rouault experienced difficulty in dealing with Moreau's death in 1898. After four years of despair, he travelled to Evian in 1902, in an effort to improve his poor health and state of mind. He then returned to Paris and came across the works of Léon Bloy in Moreau's library, which became his inspiration for a series of paintings. The artist married Marthe Le Sidaner in 1908, and the couple had four children.

Influenced by events at the Tribunal de la Seine, the painter produced the Les Juges series and the Les Tribunaux series. Rouault's pieces reflected humans, with all their perceived flaws, as men without masks. Although he exhibited at the 1900 Centennial Exhibition of French art, the first gallery exhibition for his work was held at the Druet Gallery in 1910. The artist began work on his collection of etchings and lithographs, Le Miserere De Georges Rouault, in 1912. This work would be exhibited in 1948. Much of Rouault's work was completed after Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard purchased the artist's entire gallery and future works. Books printed during this time include Les Fleurs du Mal, Cirque de l'Étoile Filante, Passion, and Les Réincarnations du Père Ubu. There were many retrospectives held during the last decade of Rouault's life, including those at Palais des Beaux-Arts and Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris, Stedlijk Museum in Amsterdam, Cleveland Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Bologna. France gave Rouault a state funeral when he died in 1958.

Timeline

1871
Born: in Paris, France on May 27th
1880
His parents entered him in school
1885–1890
Apprenticed to a stained glass artisan, and there he learned to restore medieval stained glass windows
1894
Recipient, the Concours Chenavard first prize
1891–1898
Studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, France where Gustave Moreau became his mentor and friend
1903
Was a co-founder and participant in the first Salon d’Automne of 1903 along with Matisse and other artists who would later be called Fauves
1903
Became the curator of the Musée Moreau
1910
Had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Drouet
1916
Began to illustrate a number of books at the advice of his dealer, Vollard
1927
Resumed painting
1916–1936
Devoted himself entirely to printmaking, to the exclusion of painting for the first ten
1937
Had a large exhibition at the Petit Palais
1958
Died: in Paris, France on February 13th

Exhibitions

2011
Rouault, au Pays d’Ubu, Yoshii Gallery, Paris, France
2011
Georges Rouault: Cirque de L’Etoile Filante, East Gallery, Fleming Museum, Burlington, VM
2011
Georges Rouault, landscapes, Shiodome Museum, Rouault Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2010–2011
Georges Rouault: The Sacred and the Profane, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Bilbao, Spain
2010
Dürer, Rouault, and the Passion of Christ, Centro Comunale d’Arte e Cultura Exma, Cagliari, Italy
2009–2010
Georges Rouault, Landscapes, Musée d’Art Moderne, Troyes, France
2009
Georges Rouault – Makoto Fujimura: Soliloquies, Dillon Gallery, New York, NY
2008
Mystic Masque: Semblance and Reality in Georges Rouault, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston, MA
2008
The Redemptive Vision of Georges Rouault, Walsh Gallery, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
2008
Georges Rouault-Miserere, Galeria Ariete, Bologna, Italy
2007
Georges ROUAULT, Galerie Tamenaga, Paris, France
2007
PASSION- oeuvres de Georges Rouault, Musée d’Art Religieux, Lemvig, Denmark
2006–2007
Georges Rouault: Retrospective, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, France
2006–2007
Paysages Légendaires, Shiodome Museum Rouault Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
2006
Georges Rouault: the Master of Our Own Day, Daejeon Museum of Art, Daejeon, Korea
2004–2005
Rétrospective Rouault, Centre culturel Caixa Catalunya, La Pedrera, Barcelona, Spain
2004–2005
Georges Rouault et le Cirque, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Chambéry, France
2004
Rouault and Icons, Shiodome Museum Rouault Gallery, Shiodome, Tokyo
2004
Revelations: Georges Rouault at Work, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
2003–2004
Versailles, vie artistique, littéraire et mondaine 188-1939, Musée Lambinet, Versailles, France
2003
Exposition de l’oeuvre gravée, Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Moji-ku, Japan