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Georges Rouault (French, 1871-1958): Réincarnations de Père Ubu

Gauguin / Camoin / Derain / Matisse / Rouault / Vlaminck

Rouault 1: Miserere / Rouault 2: Miserere 2 / Rouault 3: Miserere 3 / Rouault 4: Miserere 4
Rouault 5: Passion, Fleurs de Mal / Rouault 6: Pere Ubu / Rouault Specials

For an introduction to Rouault in general and the Miserere in particular, please click here.

"The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters": Goya’s Caprichos etchings (1799), Durer's Ship of Fools woodcuts (1494), David Deuchar’s etchings (1786) after Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death, John Martin’s Paradise Lost mezzotints (1823-25), and Georges Rouault’s Miserere mixed-media intaglios (1922-1928)
Père Ubu first appeared in 1888 in a collaboration between Alfred Jarry and a fellow student at the Rennes Lycée, but his first public appearance came in 1893 when Jarry published some of prose works in an avant-garde review, the Minutes de Sable Mémorial. His triumph, however, was on the stage when the director of the Theâtre de l'Oeuvre, Lugne-Poe staged a production of Ubu Roi, complete with scenery painted by Jarry and Pierre Bonnard. The audience received the play with screams, whistles, and fist-shaking; the critics took up the cudgels, and the play became infamous and its author an avant-garde hero. A later work, Les Gestes et Opinions du Docteur Faustroll, Pataphysicien, launched a new science, Pataphysics, the "science of imaginary solutions," which was revived half a century or so later by an international group of writers including Raymond Queneau, author of, among many other works, Zazie dans le Métro, and counting Pierre Alechinsky (who would later produce a series of drawings as illustrations for an edition of Ubu Roi), one of the founders of the COBRA group, as at least a fellow traveller. As presented by Jarry, Père Ubu is a bully, an ingrate, a coward; Miró's Ubu is all of these but most of all a force for chaos. Jarry's Ubu is the exiled king of Aragon who has become Captain of Dragoons, aide to King Wenceslas of Poland, and bearer of the Order of the Red Eagle; he shows his gratitude by killing the King, the Queen, and all but one of the Royal family: he is always cursing, always plotting, always running away, and always abusing those weaker and even more cowardly than he. Vollard was much taken with Ubu and enlisted Rouault to prepare illustrations to Vollard's own sequel to Ubu Roi, the Réincarnations de Père Ubu. After Rouault, Max Ernst, Picasso, and Réné Magritte all produced works illustrated the monstrous Ubu's monstrous deeds; Miró was also deeply committed to Père Ubu, illustrating three texts, Ubu Roi (1966), Ubu aux Baléares (1971), and L'Enfance d'Ubu (1975). An English translation (edited by Simon Watson Taylor) of Jarry's Ubu plays was published by Grove Press in 1968.

Our study of these pieces (and of several very early proofs from the Miserere) has allowed us to see an essential part of the way that Rouault worked: like Rembrandt, Turner, or Picasso, he revised unceasingly; unlike Dürer or Tintoretto or Miró, each of whom worked from a drawing to a finshed work as expeditiously as possible, Rouault seems to have found it difficult to let go of a piece, even after it was theoretically finished, even to the extent of continuing to revise some of the Miserere pieces even after the edition had been published.
Cover Page, Réincarnations de Père Ubu (C & R Volume I, p. 125). . Printed in 1931 for Ambroise Vollard, Editeur. This is a trial mockup of the cover page of the portfolio published in 1932 containing the text of Vollard's Réincarnations de Père Ubu illustrated with Rouault's intaglios and wood-engravings by Georges Aubert after drawings on wood by Rouault. Dated MCMXXXI at the bottom of the sheet. Paper size: 440x330mm. See immediately below for the work printed on the reverse of this cover page.
Dancing Woman: Frontispiece, Réincarnations de Père Ubu (C & R Volume I, p. 125). Woodcut after Rouault's drawing upon the wood block by Georges Aubert under Roualut's supervision. Printed in 1931 for Ambroise Vollard, Editeur. This is a trial mockup of the frontispiece of the portfolio published in 1932 containing the text of Vollard's Réincarnations de Père Ubu illustrated with Rouault's intaglios and wood-engravings by Georges Aubert after drawings on wood by Rouault. Printed on the verso of the Cover page pictured above. Paper size: 440x330mm. Price: $1000.
Frontispiece (C&R 8c). Original etching, aquatint, roulette, burnisher, 1918. Thius is the first etching in the series. The scene shows a native lamenting beneath a palm tree after the sunset but before full night. Ours is a trial proof signed and dated 1918 in the plate lower left. Rouault returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1935) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Rare in this state. Image size: 300x200mm. Price: $1950.
Le Politicard / The Politician (C&R 11c/d). Original aquatint, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1918. Trial proof signed and dated 1918 in the plate bottom center. Rouault returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1935 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1932) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Ours is a brilliant proof dated 1918 but with the changed mustache that would appear in the final 1928 version; printed on paper watermarked "La Tentation de Saint Antoine" (leftover from the livre d'artiste Odilon Redon executed for Vollard). Rare in this state. Image size: 297x194mm. Price: $1950.
Le Père Ubu Chantre / Père Ubu the Singer (C&R 13c). Original etching, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1918. Trial proof signed and dated 1918 in the plate bottom left. Rouault returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1935) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Ours is a brilliant proof of the third of four states printed on paper watermarked La Tentation de Saint Antoine (left over from the livre d'artiste Odilon Redon executed for Vollard). Rare in this state. Image size: 307x195mm. Price: $1950.
Profil / Profile (C&R 14b). Original etching, aquatint, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1919. Trial proof signed and dated 1919 in the plate bottom right. Rouault returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1935) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Ours is a brilliant proof of the third of four states printed on paper watermarked J Perigot. Rare in this state. Image size: 307x195mm. Price: $1950.
Profil / Profile (C&R 14e). Original etching, aquatint, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1928. Rouault returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1935) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Ours is a brilliant trial proof of the final state printed on laid paper without a watermark Rare in this state. Image size: 299x195mm. Price: $1950.
L'adminstrateur colonial / The Colonial administrator (C&R 16d). Original etching, aquatint, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1928. Rouault returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1935) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Ours is a brilliant impression of the fourth of five states printed on paper watermarked "Ambroise Vollard"; signed and dated in the plate lower left). Rare in this state. Image size: 268x170mm. Price: $1950.
Cristal de roche / Rock chrystal (C&R 21c). Original etching, aquatint, roulette, drypoint, 1918 (signed and dated in the plate lower right). Rouault returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1935) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Ours is a brilliant impression of the fourth of five states printed on paper watermarked "Ambroise Vollard." Rare in this state. Image size: 315x3203mm. Price: $1750.
Cristal de roche / Rock chrystal (C&R 21d). Original etching, aquatint, roulette, drypoint, 1918 (signed and dated in the plate lower right). Rouault returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1935) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Ours is a very good impression of the fourth and final state printed on Arches paper. Image size: 315x3203mm. Price: $1750.
Mademoiselle Irma (C&R 22c). Original aquatint, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1918. Trial proof signed and dated 1918 in the plate bottom center. Rouault returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1935) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Ours is a brilliant proof of the third of four states printed on paper watermarked "Ambroise Vollard." Rare in this state. Image size: 296x177mm. Price: $1950.
Le poisson volant / The flying fish (C&R 23c). Original aquatint, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1928. 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations dePère Ubu (1932) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Signed in the plate bottom center. Ours is a proof before the edition on paper watermarked "Ambroise Vollard." Illustrated Georges Rouault: Paintings and Prints (Museum of Modern Art, 1947). Image size: 212x307mm. Price: $1750.
Les Deux Matrones / The Two Ladies (C&R 25e). Original aquatint, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1928. Rouault began working in the Reincarnations of Père Ubu in 1918; he returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1932) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Our impression (70/225) on Van Gelder is signed and numbered in ink. Image size: 270x190mm. Price: $3600.
Le Director de Thèâtre / The Theater Director (C&R 27c). Original aquatint, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1928. Rouault began working in the Reincarnations of Père Ubu in 1918; he returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1932) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Our impression on BFK Rives is from one of the deluxe suites; signed and dated in the plate just above the shoulder on the right. Image size: 300x196mm. Price: $1950.
Fille au grand chapeau / Woman with a very large hat (C&R 29d). Original aquatint, roulette, drypoint, burnisher, 1928. Rouault began working in the Reincarnations of Père Ubu in 1918; he returned to the plate and produced the final version in 1928 although it was not published until 1932 in an edition of 225 pencil-signed impressions (175 on Van Gelder and 50 on japon); there were also 305 portfolios for Reincarnations de Père Ubu (1932) containing suites of the etchings on Arches and Rives papers. Ours is a brilliant proof on Van Gelder signed in the plate and dated in the plate just above the shoulder on the right. Illustrated in From Manet to Hockney (Victoria and Albert Museum, p. 213); Illustrated Musée National d'Art Moderne, 1971, p. 222. Image size: 295x200mm. Price: $2250.

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Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Prints and Drawings

Prints by Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Charles Camoin, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cezanne, Henri Edmond Cross,
Edgar Degas, Sonia Delaunay, Maurice Denis, André Derain, Susanne Duchamp, Raoul Dufy, Jean-Louis Forain,
Paul Gauguin, Marie Laurencin, Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro, Berthé Morisot, Pablo Picasso,
Pierre Auguste Renoir, Georges Rouault, Ker Xavier Roussel, Paul Signac, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Suzanne Valadon,
Maurice de Vlaminck, James A. McNeill Whistler, and others.

Drawings by Albert Besnard, Andre Barbier, Henri Edmond Cross, Jean-Louis Forain, Eva Gonzales, Marie Laurencin, Maximilien Luce, and Georges Rouault.

Hand-colored prints by Mary Cassatt, Marc Chagall, Sonja Delaunay, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso.

For a review of the show that concludes, "Art exhibits in Madison rarely get this good," click review.