The Fondation Georges Rouault has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Galerie Bellier, Paris Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1997-98
Bernard Dorival & Isabelle Rouault, Rouault, L'Œuvre peint, Monaco, 1988, vol. I, no. 136, illustrated p. 56 (incorrectly dated circa 1906)
The character of Pierrot from commedia dell'arte holds a central place in Rouault's work. Columbine's lover, Harlequin's rival, is a character from the world of the circus, or even the world of outsiders: street performers, Gypsies, beggars and prostitutes, who first fascinated the Romantic painters, then the Parisian avant-garde. As a Catholic painter, Rouault identified with this character of the half-clown, half-outcast, a symbol of humanity's suffering, who becomes a corollary of the figure of Christ. Painted as early as 1904, Pierrot solitaire marks both the very beginning of the painter's fascination with this subject and the rise of the unique Expressionist style for which he is renowned and which established his work — even when it went against the current — as part of the development of modern painting.
"I saw quite clearly that the "Clown" was me, was us, nearly all of us... this rich and glittering costume, it is given to us by life itself, we are all more or less clowns." Georges Rouault
Executed on cream wove paper, laid down on paper. The upper, lower and left edges are unevenly cut. There are some minor nicks associated with small paint losses along the extreme edges, most predominately to the left part of the lower edge. There is a minor paper loss to the upper left tip. The sheet is light stained and medium appears to be slightly faded in areas, including the ink of the signature. This work is in overall good condition. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."