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This image caricatures Ambroise Vollard, the Parisian art dealer and publisher who handled the work of many of the leading early modern artists of France.
For more than thirty years, artist and dealer maintained a conflicted relationship, with Rouault complaining of Vollard's greed while appreciating his support. Here Rouault compares him to characters from Italian comedic theatre. Each attribute-the imperious gesture, patchwork costume and pointed hat- refers to a different aspect of the multi-faceted role of a clown, or the complex personality of a remarkable dealer.