Hiver lépre de la terre (Winter, Earth's Leper); plate 24 of 58 from Miserere by Georges Rouault

Hiver lépre de la terre (Winter, Earths Leper); plate 24 of 58 from Miserere by Georges Rouault

Hiver lépre de la terre (Winter, Earth's Leper); plate 24 of 58 from Miserere

Georges Rouault

Title

Hiver lépre de la terre (Winter, Earth's Leper); plate 24 of 58 from Miserere

 
Artist
Year
1922 , published in 1948 
Technique
aquatint, etching, drypoint and roulette over heliogravure 
Image Size
20 3/8 x 14 1/2" platermark 
Signature
initialled in the plate, lower right 
Edition Size
450 (425 plus 25 hors commerce) 
Annotations
 
Reference
Wofsey 131 
Paper
antique-white laid Arches with "Ambrose Vollard" watermark 
State
published 
Publisher
Vollard and Editions de l'Etoile Filante, Paris 
Inventory ID
15659 
Price
$2,000.00 
Description

Ambrose Vollard originally commissioned "Miserere et Guerre" (Misery and War) to be about 100 images, but then backed off. Rouault conceived the project in 1914 and worked the plates between 1916 and 1927. He recovered the plates from Vollard in 1947 and published "Miserere" with 58 plates and without the André Suarès text. They were issued loose, in a cloth case.

'Miserere', which can also mean "A prayer for mercy" or "have mercy" was conceived during WWI when the world was in misery, suffering from all the effects of war. The series was actually a spiritual response by Rouault, offering hope and a sort of prayer.

With this image, the 24th of 58, roughly translates as "Winter, Earth's Leper", Rouault depicts a white figure in a desolate landscape, bent from the weight of a burden, perhaps a body, carried on his back. In 1916 leprosy was seen as a fatal, incurable disease and winter was fatal to many poor and homeless during the war.

To create these works Rouault did India ink drawings that he translated to paintings, which were then photo-etched (heliogravure) on to copper plates which he then would rework using various intaglio techniques to achieve the image he wanted.