Georges Rouault: Cirque de L’Etoile Filante

August 30 – December 15, 2005
In 1917 Georges Rouault entered into an exclusive contractual relationship with Parisian publisher and art dealer Ambrose Vollard. Vollard’s riving ambition was to become the greatest publisher of prints and illustrated books and his collaboration with Rouault proved to be one of the most productive in the history of printmaking. The two produced several notable portfolios including Miserere, Les Fleurs du Mal, and Cirque de l’Etoile Filante (Circus of the Shooting Stars). The world of the circus had always interested Rouault through its contrast of superficial brightness with the infinite sadness of circus life. The images in this portfolio described Rouault’s attempt to strip away the “spangles” of the clown’s costume and reveal the “reflection of paradise lost.” Seventeen color etchings with aquatint introduced the portfolio followed by 82 wood engravings that illustrated the text, also written by Rouault. The project began in 1926 and was finally published in 1938. This exhibition included all of the aquatints and a selection of the wood engravings and text pages.