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Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Georges Rouault
1871 - 1958
ARLEQUIN (HARMONIE ROSE)
oil on canvas
41 by 32.1cm., 16 1/8 by 12 1/2 in.
Painted circa 1948-52.
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The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Fondation Georges Rouault. 

Provenance

Private Collection (acquired in the 1980s)
Private Collection, Europe (by descent from the above; sale: Sotheby's, Paris, 4th December 2013, lot 19)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Richly textured and saturated with brilliant colour, Rouault's bust of a harlequin belongs to the artist's most expressive and beloved series. While this character was famous as an alter-ego for Picasso during the first-half of the twentieth century, Rouault claimed the character for himself in later years, painting images of the figure that are now universally equated with his art. These nomadic entertainers represented freedom and naïveté for the artist, as he stated: ‘Acrobats and horsewomen, sparkling or passive clowns, tightrope walkers and freaks, and my friends, colour and harmony, since my earliest childhood I have been in love with you’ (quoted in Bernard Dorival & Isabelle Rouault, Rouault, l'œuvre peint, Monte Carlo, 1988, vol. I, p. 153). Rather than the outward signs of make-up, powder and sparkle, the artist was more concerned with the life hidden behind them. In the present work, he combats the potential frivolity of the subject by employing a Cloisonnist style and delineating the figure with black outlines. Unlike other artists working in this style, however, Rouault has used boundless expressionistic brushstrokes that deconstruct form and bring his subject to the edge of abstraction, seen here in the thick, sweeping brushstrokes of radiant pink and dazzling white that surround the figure.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

|
London