Georges Rouault (1871 – 1958) was a French painter, draughtsman, and printmaker who became well known for his intensely personal style of painting and expressionistic use of color and form. Georges Rouault was born in Paris, France, into a poor family. His father, Henri Rouault (1831-1905), worked as a tailor, and his mother, Marguerite Faucher (1841-1920), worked as a seamstress. Georges Rouault had four sisters and one brother. As a child, he showed an early interest in art, but his family could not afford to send him to art school.
Rouault instead began working as an apprentice to a glass painter and then to a stained glass workshop. He also took classes at the École des Arts Décoratifs, where he met Henri Matisse (1869-1954). In 1891, Rouault’s father died, and Georges Rouault had to support his family. He began working as an illustrator for magazines and newspapers, including Le Rire and Le Cri de Paris.
Rouault’s first solo exhibition was in 1902 at the Galerie Vollard. In 1904, Rouault married Juliette Porché (1883-1957), with whom he would have two children. In 1905, Georges Rouault exhibited his work at the Salon d’Automne, where he met Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). The two artists became friends, and Rouault’s work was influenced by Picasso’s Cubist style.
Rouault served in the French army during World War I (1914-1918), and after the war, he returned to painting. In 1925, Rouault had another solo exhibition at the Galerie Vollard, and in 1930, he exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français. During the 1930s and 1940s, Georges Rouault produced a series of paintings on religious subjects, including The Old King (1933-1934), The Passion of Christ (1937-1938), and The Crucifixion (1944-1945).
In the 1950s, Georges Rouault’s health began to decline, and he stopped painting. He died in Paris on February 13, 1958.
Georges Rouault is considered one of the major figures of twentieth-century art. His expressive use of color and his bold, often sombre subjects set him apart from other artists of his time. Georges Rouault’s paintings are found in major museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Gallery in London.