1948-1958   |   Final symphony

The last ten years of Rouault’s career were characterised by an explosion of colour and an intensified use of texture. This final period is his most brilliant work and his crowning achievement. 

The layers of thick paint are several centimetres thick in places. The black of the thick outline accentuates the uneven texture and creates light and shadow. The paint was treated with patience and persistence, slowly worked until it was transformed. Free from academic scruple, Rouault pushed his technique to the limit. The face of Sarah (1956) is a typical example of this period –an accumulation of layers of paint give the painting a sculptural aspect whist multiplying the shades, colours and light effects. 

This permanent quest for the perfect painting medium is characteristic of Rouault who, like an alchemist, pursued his experiments and research in the secrecy of his studio, constantly reworking his works to transform them and bring them to completion. This process explains why it is sometimes difficult to date his works. 

This permanent pursuit of a skillful artistry and the expression, sometimes painful, of a sensitivity that is “between dream and reality” are at the very heart of Rouault’s work. For him, art was a way of communicating through painting, colour and texture. He translated his thoughts onto the paper or the canvas. For Rouault, painting was first and foremost a “passionate confession”.  

Sarah, 1956
Sarah, 1956

His art is not only a plastic creation It is also a man’s commitment