This exhibition will mark the first undertaking to visually link the works of German expressionists—primarily Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), considered one of the founders of abstract art—with those of Georges Rouault (1871-1958), the greatest religious artist of 20th-century France.
For a period of time in the early 20th century, Kandinsky displayed his works at the Salon d’Automne—an annual art exhibition in Paris that Rouault co-founded—while Rouault presented his works at exhibitions hosted by Kandinsky’s Munich New Artists’ Association. The two events gave birth, respectively, to Fauvism and German expressionism, and the fact that the two artists participated in both suggests they had a mutual interest in each other’s artistic movements. Similarities in colors and motifs used by Rouault and the German expressionists further indicate that they shared a common aesthetic. Driven by what he called “inner necessity,” Kandinsky eventually arrived at abstract art, as did his good friend Paul Klee (1879 – 1940). Rouault, too, followed his “inner necessity” towards a unique style defined by his Christianity.
The exhibition will consist primarily of works on loan from the Miyagi Museum of Art, which owns one of Japan’s largest collections of paintings by Kandinsky, Klee, and other German expressionists. Oil paintings, watercolors, prints, sketches, books, and other materials on loan from the Rouault Foundation in Paris and other organizations will make up the rest of the 130 items on display.