The Last Symphoney 1948-1958
The last 10 years of Rouault’s career are characterised by an explosion of colours and a real intoxication of materials. This final period is the most brilliant of his works and his crowning glory.

The layers of paint, less and less diluted, are placed to a thickness of many centimetres in some places. The black of the broad outline accentuates the effects of peak and trough. The paste is treated with patience and obstinacy, mixed for a long time, its nature is transformed. Freed from academic scruple, Rouault pushes his technique to the limits of the possible. The face of “Sarah” (1956) constitutes a typical example of this period. The accumulation of layers of paint gives the painting a sculptural aspect while multiplying the shades, colour and the effects of the light.

This obstinate search for a pictorial material is characteristic of Rouault, who, like an alchemist, in the secret of his studio, pursues his experiments and research coming back ceaselessly to his works to transform them and bring them to maturity. This can help to explain certain difficulties in dating the works inherent in such a process.

The ongoing search for pictorial savoir-faire and the sometimes painful expression of a sensitivity “torn between dream and reality” are the two lungs which give life and breath to the works of Rouault. Art for him is a means of communicating by design, colour and texture. He sets down his thoughts on paper or canvas. For him painting is, above all, a “fervent confession”.

“His art is not only plastic creation. It is also the commitment of a man.”

La petite magicienne du Cirque
de l'arc-en-ciel, 1948-1949

Sarah, 1956

In his studio, 1953