Georges Rouault — Five Paintings

24 Dec

rouault_Christ-c1937-38Georges Rouault, Christ (c. 1937-38)

rouault-christ_dans_le_banlieu-c1920-24Georges Rouault, Christ dans le Banlieue (c. 1920-24)

Note: click on any image to enlarge

As a Roman Catholic and frequent painter of religious subjects I’m a big fan of Georges Rouault (1871-1958).  The excellent biography of Rouault, contained on the website of The Rouault Foundation, is mandatory reading for anyone interested in the artist, but its opening paragraph is illuminating all by itself:

“Georges Rouault occupies a unique place amongst twentieth century artists. A contempory of Cubism, Expressionism and Fauvism, he never aspired to belong to any one of these movements. Often categorised as a religious painter, he was, above all, independent. He did not find his inspiration in an abstract way, but rather in observing real life as much as the highest form of spirituality. Georges Rouault was a painter who did not need religious subjects in order for his work to be stamped with the characteristics of holiness.”

I encourage you to check out The Rouault Foundation’s website:

Rouault_Fleurs_oil_22_x_17_inchesGeorge Rouault, Fleurs (c. 1930s)

Rouault-musician_clown_oil_12_x_75_x_8Georges Rouault Musician Clown (c. 1920s)

While some critics have expressed puzzlement at Rouault’s seemingly contradictory choices of subject — ranging from the traditionally religious to clowns, circus performers and even prostitutes — there is a specifically Christian logic to Rouault’s interests.  C.S. Lewis illustrates that logic about as well as anyone ever has in his great homily The Weight of Glory:

“[t]here are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations— these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit– immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously– no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner– no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, you neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat – the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happiness and Peace in General, Etc. — you get the picture.

Rouault  'Clown Pensif' oilGeorges Rouault, Clown Pensif (c. 1930s)

5 Responses to “Georges Rouault — Five Paintings”

  1. Lisa Anderson March 18, 2014 at 2:17 am #

    Hi and thanks for this inspiring Rouault page. I would dearly love a print of “Fleurs”, 1930s, but cannot locate one. Any suggestions?

    • bobbalouie May 2, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

      Maybe try contacting Rouault’s website. That’s all I can think of!

      • Lisa Anderson May 3, 2014 at 10:41 am #


  2. Amanda February 24, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    I have “fleurs”, 1930s…how do I know if it is a print or a painting? I received it already framed.

    • bobbalouie February 24, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

      You should talk to an expert art appraiser, but from the sound of it it’s a print. Rouault’s work is characterized by very thick, textured, impasto paint. You would likely know immediately if it were an original (or original forgery). There are a couple original Rouault paintings in, for example, the Cincinnati Art Museum. If you live anywhere near there they’re worth checking out. Really amazing works of art and very powerful. Hope this helps. 🙂

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