The Show Must Go On

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  Medium: hand-pulled lithograph
  Image size: 38 1/2" x 30 1/2"
  Edition size: 300
  Numbered Proofs: 52
  Non-Numbered Proofs: 19
  Total Edition size: 371
  Number of colors: 19
  Year printed: 2006
  Atelier: Arts-Litho, Paris
  Current Price: $ 1520 Last price on secondary mkt.
While having lunch with Authouart and our friend Jeffrey Link in June of 2005, at Brasserie 81/2 on 57th Street in New York City, Jeffrey related a story to us. While sitting at the desk of his 32nd floor Madison Avenue office, Jeffrey looked up to see an airplane passing just outside his window. It was September 11, 2001. Jeffrey’s story was the idea and inspiration for The Show Must Go On.
While Jeffrey was talking, Authouart was remembering arriving the day before, from Kennedy International, and being shocked at seeing the silhouette of Manhattan without the Twin Towers. His amazement, however, was short lived as he was soon immersed in the lights and energy of Broadway. Like never ending fireworks, Times Square is an assault on the senses. Every time Authouart returns to New York, it seems more attractive, brighter and more exuberant. It seems to explode around him like a volcano, raining down excitement yet with hints of violence and death.
Faced with the contrast of this fascination and repulsion, Authouart first imagined The Show Must Go On.
The Show Must Go On is the newest image in his Comics Section series. He first began the painting by creating 6 comic strips, one beneath the other. The theme of each was New York… a dangerous city. After the comic strips were painted on, he began to paint on the canvas as if it were blank.
While on that June 2005 trip to New York, Authouart made many, many drawings and gouaches (42 in this case), as is his custom, while sitting on the streets of the City. He was able to find an incredible spot from which to draw at 48th and Broadway. This point of view gave him wonderful perspective and a penetration into the image.
Once back home, in Rouen, he made many studies and finally decided to create a very large painting, 230 x 182 cm (slightly larger than 90” x 71”) in which he could best accentuate the contrasts of the fabulous and the frightening. When enlarging an image to this extent, every line, every detail, every bit of color pose a different problem but he thought it the best way to develop the contrast between the bright lights and the often underlying anguish.
The focal point of this image is a ’59 Chevy Impala convertible (a drawing made in Bruno C.’s garage - see Dream Cars ), filled with a troupe of actors parading down Broadway to promote their play… The Show Must Go On. The actors in the car exemplify the subject of the play. There is a G.I. driving, a wounded boy, the Pope with a broken crucifix, Uncle Sam orchestrating and a blonde kissing an actor that is wearing a mask of Bin Laden. Authouart is stuck right in the middle, brandishing his brush loaded with red paint. Sitting on the trunk of the car is a sexy brunette. As the wind blows her shirt, a suicide belt is revealed. From the first lines drawn on the streets of NYC to the final signature on the canvas, it bothered Authouart no end that some of his fellow human beings can be so cold as to push their women to become suicide bombers.
Authouart well remembers the time passed… drawing the Chevy in Bruno’s garage, drawing sketches of Josh the cyclist pedaling in Authouart's garden and later posing in his studio with the bicycle steadied between boxes, the hours passed sitting in the sun at 48th and Broadway painting his gouache engulfed by the incredible sights and sounds of the streets of New York City. His hope is that you too can feel the life and energy of New York when viewing The Show Must Go On.
The Show Must Go On was exhibited at Art Paris 2006 at the long awaited re-opening of the Grand Palais. The painting generated such interest and curiosity at the show that more than 50 collectors requested he do a litho. Authouart had reservations about taking on such an immense project for such an important work. The complexity of color and the multiplicity of detail required several months of drawing and printing on the 19th Century lithographic press he uses in his workshop in Paris.
It’s here and The Show Must Go On.

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