Georges Henri Rouault was born
in Paris on May 27, 1871. First introductions to art took place in his
family. After an apprenticeship as a glass painter Georges Rouault
studied under Gustave Moreau at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris
from 1891—1898. At first Rouault studied under Elie Delauney until
his early death and then under Gustave Moreau, with whom he had a close
connection. After Moreau's death in 1898 Rouault was appointed curator
of the Musée Moreau in 1903, in which he maintained the memory of
his teacher's work.
work was influenced by his teacher as well as by the artist's
fascination for medieval art. Both never ceased having a great
influence on the artist's work. From around 1902 the artist still
made watercolors and gouaches in expressive colors, which founded
his reputation as a Fauvist painter. Early subjects, such as
workers and farmers reflect the French artist's strong moral
engagement. Encouraged by his art dealer Ambroise Vollard, he
concentrated on graphic art between 1917 and 1927. One of the most
famous series of this period is the extensive cycle
‘Miserere’ which was finished in 1927 and published in
1948. Towards the end of the 1920s Rouault discovered impasto
painting, a technique in which paint is applied in thick, pastose
layers, which is so typical of the painter. He now concentrated
nearly exclusively on religious subjects, which he interpreted in
an icon-like austerity, with intensively brilliant colors
reminiscent of medieval stained glass windows.
oeuvre was much acclaimed from an early date. In 1894, for example,
he was awarded the first prize at the Concours Chenavard, but he
was also often contested due to his unorthodox style. His first
one-man exhibition took place at the Galerie Drouet in 1910. Large
retrospective exhibitions followed at the Museum of Modern Art, New
York in 1945 and at the Kunsthaus Zurich in 1948.
died at the age of 87 in Paris on February 13, 1958.