Douce Amère...(Trio) signed and dated 'G. Rouault 1932' (lower left) ink and gouache on paper work: 8.6 x 25.7cm (3 3/8 x 10 1/8in); sheet: 11.8 x 31.3cm (4 5/8 x 12 5/16in). Executed in 1932
LITERATURE B. Dorival & I. Rouault, Rouault, L'oeuvre peint, vol.II, Monte Carlo, 1988, no.1326 (illustrated p.47).
This work belongs to a group of sixty-six gouaches made in preparation for the portfolio of seventeen colour etchings and eighty-two wood engravings which illustrated the book Cirque de l'étoile filante, published through a collaboration with Ambroise Vollard in 1938.
The world of the circus had always interested Rouault through its contrast of superficial joyousness with the intrinsic sadness of travelling circus life. The images in this portfolio describe Rouault's attempt to strip away the frippery of the clown's costume to reveal the poignant humanity beneath.
The image in Cirque de l'étoile filante which relates to the present work is illustrated on page 98, in the chapter entitled Ailes de pigeon.