COLOMBINE ET PIERROT
COLOMBINE ET PIERROT

COLOMBINE ET PIERROT

Jules Chéret
COLOMBINE ET PIERROT
Pastel
1909

An original hand-signed Jules Chéret Pastel drawing.

1909

Pastel drawing on canvas.

Signed and dated lower left JChéret / 1909.

24 3/4 x 18 7/8 inches

Pierrot is a stock character of pantomime and Commedia dell’Arte whose origins are in the late 17th-century Italian troupe of players performing in Paris and known as the Comédie-Italienne. His character in postmodern popular culture—in poetry, fiction, the visual arts, as well as works for the stage, screen, and concert hall—is that of the sad clown, pining for love of Columbine, who usually breaks his heart and leaves him for Harlequin. Performing unmasked, with a whitened face, he wears a loose white blouse with large buttons and wide white pantaloons. Sometimes he appears with a frilled collaret and a hat, usually with a close-fitting crown and wide round brim, more rarely with a conical shape like a dunce’s cap. But most frequently, since his reincarnation under Jean-Gaspard Deburau, he wears neither collar nor hat, only a black skullcap. The defining characteristic of Pierrot is his naïveté: he is seen as a fool, always the butt of pranks, yet nonetheless trusting.

Pierrot invaded the visual arts of late 19th century Paris — in the work of illustrator and caricaturist Adolphe Willette, also in the illustrations and posters of Jules Chéret; in the engravings of Odilon Redon (The Swamp Flower: A Sad Human Head [1885]); and in the canvases of Georges Seurat (Pierrot with a White Pipe [Aman-Jean] [1883]; The Painter Aman-Jean as Pierrot [1883]), Léon Comerre (Pierrot [1884]), Henri Rousseau (A Carnival Night [1886]), Paul Cézanne (Pierrot and Harlequin [1888]), Fernand Pelez (Grimaces and Miseries a.k.a. The Saltimbanques [1888]), Pablo Picasso (Pierrot and Columbine [1900]), Guillaume Seignac (Pierrot’s Embrace [1900]), and Edouard Vuillard (The Black Pierrot [c. 1890]).

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