george rouault Artwork Details


Detailed Description

Edition: The etchings for Pere Ubu can be divided into three groups:
i) The Trial states: These were printed between 1916 and 1919 and generally bear a date in the plate.
ii) The final states: These appeared in a book and separate portfolios of 1932. They contain 22 etchings which all bear the date “1928” in the plate.
iii) Reduced format plates: The 23 reduced plates, which are almost all pure aquatint without the heavy etched and engraved lines of the larger format pieces, appeared in a 1955 edition (number: 317))> They are initialled and dated “1929” in a space beneath the image and above the platemark.
iv) The catalogue raisonee describes “a number of trial proofs or impressions from the separate portfolios of 1932” I believe our group comes from these.
Reference: Wofsy 300, Una Johnson - “Ambroise Vollard, Editeur” a catalogue raisonee
Size: Sheet size 25.5 x 32.5 cms ; Plate size 7 .1 x 9.8 cms

Note 1: We acquired four etchings from a source in Vienna, Austria. They had come from an old collection. All the etchings are on similar paper which appears to date from the pre-war period and not be as late as the 1955 edition. The plates are not “Reduced” as those of the 1955 edition are also. Of the 4 etchings two have watermarked paper and two do not. One of these is watermarked with the signature of Ambroise Vollard (Wofsy 301) and another with an oval format difficult to identify (Wofsy 309). This is by no means rare since a single sheet would have been cut and not all the proofs therefore watermarked in the same way. The proofing and editioning of this entire series is extremely complex with so many different editions and papers having been made.

Note 2: In Johnson it states that Rouault began the series in 1913 and completed the illustrations in 1928. Kornefeld & Klipstein record 4 etchings which were not utilised in the edition. The Ubu series marks Rouaults first employment of photogravure to secure a basic image on the plate. An 8 page prospectus with 5 wood engravings by Aubert was issued by Vollard. The work was designed to mirror the artists religious convictions and questionings and was to be a vast operation of over 100 prints. Whilst part way through the process, however, it was realised this was too ambitious and the project was scaled down in size.

Note 3: Ambroise Vollard was obsessed with his invented character - Pere Abu - for more then 3 decades. He began with “Le Grand Almanach du Pere Ubu, 1900 - 1901, illustrated by Pierre Bonnard and ended with Reincarnations du Pere Ubu, 1932, with etchings by Rouault. Vollard wrote or published more then 10 works on the subject. Pere Ubu was based on the Ubu Roi of Alfred Jarry. Jarry’s work shows the hero as a personification of individual malevolence which Vollard transfers to the individual group. Vollard described this concept in his own autobiography


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