Georges Rouault

A Biographical Survey

 

 

1871.

Born 27th May, whilst his mother was sheltering in a cellar, during the bombardment of the city by government troops. His father Alexander  was a cabinet maker employed at the Pleyel piano factory.

 

 

1881.

Frequent stays with his maternal grandfather who loves art. And collects prints of Daumier, Courbet and Manet’s work which he shows his grandson.

 

 

1885.

Apprenticed to a stain-glass maker.

 

 

1890.

Joins a restorer of old stained-glass. Decides to devote himself to painting.

 

 

1892.

Becomes the favourite pupil of the symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. Matisse and Marquet are fellow students. Wins first prize in his class, with a series of religious subjects.

 

 

1894.

Wins the ‘Prix Chenavard’ for The Child Jesus among the Doctors.

 

 

1898.

Moreau dies. And Rouault loses a mentor and friend whose memory he was to venerate all his life. Becomes curator of the Gustave Moreau Museum. His family leave for Algeria. Rouault remains in Paris and experiences financial hardship and spiritual unrest.

 

 

1904.

Exhibits eight oils at the Salon D’Automne. Subjects include prostitutes,  clowns, acrobats, and Pierrot. Also thirty-two watercolours and pastels. The public jeers at these ‘dark’ pictures.

 

 

1908.

Marries Marthe Le Sidaner, sister of the painter Henri Le Sidaner, with whom he has four children, Genevieve, Isabelle, Michel and Agnès.  Begins his series of ‘Judges’ and ‘Tribunals’ inspired by the trials at the Tribunal de la Seine which he attended for nearly a year. He also paints the poor, among  them peasants and workers.

 

 

1910.

First one-man show at the Druet Gallery [25 February – 5 March].

 

 

1913.

Vollard, responsible for Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso’s first one-man shows, buys every painting in Rouault’s studio.

 

 

1917.

Vollard becomes his sole agent, providing him with a studio on the top floor of  his home for Rouault to complete several hundred works. And concentrate, [until 1927] on the illustration of fine limited edition books, the most important being ‘Miserere’.

 

 

1919.

His Child Jesus, purchased by the State in 1917, is hung in the Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar - his first picture to enter a museum.

 

 

1929.

Designs the sets and costumes for the Diaghilev ballet The Prodigal Son, with music by Prokofiev.

 

 

1937.

Large show [42 canvasses] at the Petit-Palais, Paris.

 

 

1938.

Exhibition of his prints at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

 

 

1939.

Vollard dies in a motorcar accident.

 

 

1940-41.

Retrospective exhibitions in Boston, Washington and San Francisco.

 

 

1945.

Retrospective exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

 

 

1946.     

Braque-Rouault exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London

 

 

1947.       

Wins famous court case against Vollard’s heirs for the return of nearly 800 unfinished works.

 

 

1948.       

November 5th [co-incidentally] he burns 315 paintings recovered from Vollard.
France sends 26 paintings to the Venice Biennale.
Major retrospective [263 works] at the Kunsthaus, Zurich.
The publication of ‘Miserere’.
Travels to Italy for the first time, visiting Venice, Florence, Rome, Assisi  and Sienna.

 

 

1952.

Retrospective exhibitions at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. The Stedlijk Museum, Amsterdam: and Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.

 

 

1953.

Retrospectives at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The County Museum of Art, Los Angeles. Also in Tokyo and Osaka.

 

 

1954.

Retrospective at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan.

 

 

1958.

Dies on February 13th. Given a state funeral..

 

 

 

 

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