Rouault was always interested in fairs and clowns.
In his pictures, we sense the misery of these public
entertainers who are clowns, acrobats and other
circus characters. They are often the symbol of human
A man with deeply held Catholic beliefs, Rouault painted numerous religious subjects, some with
immense force. He wrote "this instinctive movement, this turn of the helm, it was not the influence of
Toulouse Lautrec, of Degas or the moderns that inspired me, but the innate need and maybe unconcious
desire not to fall, at length, into conventional religious subjects".
A theme which is particularly interesting as it has not often been talked about. In 1902, a number
of painters, including Rouault and Marquet, shared an appartment in rue Rochechouart in Paris. They were said to have asked prostitutes
to come in from the street to warm up. These girls would have served as models for the painters. Rouault, who wanted to
portray the misery of mankind, painted these girls with the goal of stigmatising the horror of prostitution.
We find numerous landscapes in the works of Rouault. Many are imaginary, like his biblical landscapes. But others
represent landscapes loved by the artist. Versailles, where he lived for several years around 1912, inspired him
all his life. The representation of landscapes followed the evolution of his painting: initially dramatic and sombre, becoming
much more luminous later.