Qui ne se Grime Pas?((Who Does Not Wear a Mask?) A Self Portrait. 1923. Original etching with aquatint and mixed techniques over heliogravure in black ink. Chapon/Rouault 61c. Series: Miserere, plate 8. 22 3/16 x 17 (sheet 25 5/8 x 19 3/4). Intended for issue by Vollard c.1930 but not in fact issued until 1948. Printed by Jacquemin, published by Édition de L'Étoile Filante, Paris. in an edition of 425 (there were also 25 hors commerce copies). Printed on Arches laid paper, with the watermark Ambroise Vollard, with full margins and deckle edges. Illustrated: Passeron, French Prints of the Twentieth Century; Hults The Print in the Western World. Signed and dated in the plate lower left. (No impressions in the published edition were pencil signed). Housed in a simple but elegant 32 x 25-inch silver wood frame. $5,750.
Qui ne se Grime Pas is the key work in Rouault's most important series of prints, the 'Miserere'. Here the artist depicts himself as a clown. It is a 'spiritual' self-portrait expressing his moral and philosophical ideas in terms of a visual symbol.
Rouault wrote of a chance encounter in 1903, when he was 32: "One day I noticed how, when a beautiful day turns to evening, the first star shines out in the the sky. It moved me deeply -- I don't know why -- and it marked the beginnings of poetry in my life. A gypsy caravan halted at the side of the road, a weary old horse nibbling stunted grasses, an old clown patching his costume -- that was how it began. We all wear a spangled dress of some sort, but if someone catches us with the spangles off, as I caught that old clown, oh! the infinite pity of it! . . I have made the mistake . . . of never allowing people to keep their spangles on . . ."
Quoted by Frank and Dorothy Getlein, George Rouault's Miserere (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1964), p. 43.
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