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Georges Rouault and the Rhetoric of Expressionism

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Endorsing the artist's statements, Georges Rouault's admirers have repeated and helped sustain the myth of the painter as an isolated, solitary genius. Although there are many points of intersection between Rouault's work and German Expressionism (an emphasis on process and visual distortion, thematic affinities such as religious imagery, a fascination with self-portraiture, as well as with clowns and prostitutes), any potential connection with this movement has either been ignored or cursorily mentioned in the literature. This essay will explore the extent and depth of this relationship, as well as provide a critical assessment of the strikingly similar rhetorical strategies Rouault and the Expressionists employed to valorize their work.

Affiliations: 1: Boston College

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