Artist biographies

Georges Rouault

Georges Rouault (1871-1958) was apprenticed in 1885 to a glass painter who taught him to restore medieval stained-glass windows. In the evenings he took classes at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs. From 1891 Rouault attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied with Gustave Moreau, who inspired and encouraged him and quickly became his mentor and close friend. Rouault’s early work displays Moreau’s influence, and also that of older masters such as Daumier and Goya. Matisse, Marquet and Manguin introduced Rouault to Fauvism. The painter also displayed work at the 1905 Salon d’Automne, which is why critics have often considered him part of the Fauve movement, although the artist himself disagreed with this classification of his work. Rouault had a highly individual style best described as a form of Expressionism. His paintings are conspicuous for their thick black contour lines and deep colours which reveal the artist’s passion for medieval stained glass. Rouault did not paint from nature but depicted his own, inner world, which he often grotesquely exaggerated. For a decade from 1916 the artist devoted himself to making prints and book illustrations, before returning to painting. A devout Roman Catholic, Rouault spent the remainder of his life depicting religious themes which he often combined with social observation and the depiction of human suffering. In addition to painting and print-making, this versatile artist also produced ceramics, stained glass windows and designs for carpets and stage sets.

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