Georges Rouault 1871-1958
N05146 Les Trois Juges (The Three Judges) c.1936
Inscribed 'G. Rouault' b.r.
Oil on millboard mounted on panel, 30 7/8 x 25 1/2 (78 x 64.5)
Bequeathed by Montague Shearman through the CAS 1940
Prov: With Ambroise Vollard, Paris (purchased from the artist); through Etienne Bignou, Paris; with Reid and Lefevre, London, 1939; Montague Shearman, London, 1939
Exh: The Tragic Painters, Lefevre Gallery, London, June 1938 (17), dated c.1930; The 1938 International Exhibition of Paintings, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, October-December 1938 (200); L'Entente Cordiale, Lefevre Gallery, London, July 1939 (27); The Montague Shearman Collection, Redfern Gallery, London, April-May 1940 (28); Braque and Rouault, Tate Gallery, April-May 1946 (69); Acquisitions of the CAS, Tate Gallery, September-October 1946 (62); Georges Rouault, Kunstverein, Frankfurt, February-March 1966 (36, repr.); Kunstverein, Hamburg, April-May 1966 (36, repr.); Rouault, RSA, Edinburgh, August-September 1966 (68, repr.); Tate Gallery, October-November 1966 (68, repr.)
Lit: Pierre Courthion, Georges Rouault (London 1962), p.464, repr. c.c.346 (dated 1936)
Repr: Lionello Venturi, Georges Rouault (New York 1940), pl.52 as 'Judges' and dated c.1917; The Tate Gallery (London 1969), p.117 in colour
Mlle Isabelle Rouault wrote (29 August 1953) that this picture was finished about 1937-8, but in the catalogue of her father's works which she compiled in collaboration with Pierre Courthion, loc. cit., its date is given as 1936. Venturi reproduces it with the date c.1917. The artist was in the habit of reworking old canvases at intervals over a period of many years.
Rouault first became interested in this theme in 1906 or 1907, when he began to attend the law courts at the suggestion of a lawyer friend. On the subject of judges he later said: 'If I have made judges such lamentable figures, it is doubtless because I betrayed the anguish which I feel at the sight of a human being who has to pass judgement on other men ... The judges themselves I could not condemn.' (Nouvelles Littéraires, 15 November 1924, p.5).
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.665-6, reproduced p.665