Rolf Gérard and Peter Brook



From to

Rolf Gérard and Peter Brook exhibition - CREATIVITY AND FRIENDSHIP

The meeting of two brilliant artists who understand each other immediately is undoubtedly a very special event. Not without in-depth discussions and serious disagreements between the friends, Rolf Gérard, with his elegant stage designs, and Peter Brook, with his penetrating wit, created the convivial shows that will go down in theatre history. The Englishman Peter Brook (1925-2022) had already attracted attention with his revolutionary productions when he met Rolf Gérard (1909-2011), a Berliner of Huguenot-Napolitan origin. Tired of the old traditional way of performing, Peter Brook was looking for new perspectives. In Rolf Gérard, the painter, he found a completely innovative approach. For the new production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the traditional theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, they have set the love drama in a Verona inspired by the paintings of the Renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone. In Mediterranean light, on a minimal set, the elegant ladies and knights of the two rival families, the Montagues and the Capulets, moved about in sumptuous costumes. Critics described this production as historic.

Peter Brook and Rolf Gérard also worked at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where Gérard was chief set designer from 1950 to 1970, creating a new style of opera.

In Verdi's "Don Carlos", the darkness of the clothes and the corresponding mood dictated by the Inquisition prevail. For Gounod's "Faust", the production team freed the opera, which had become stuck in traditionalism, from an ill-conceived medievalism and transported it to the time of the opera's creation in the 19th century: a totally new perspective for the time. Mephistopheles did not wear a Renaissance costume, but a tailcoat with a top hat, under which he hid the devil's horns.

Many examples could be cited of this extraordinarily successful collaboration, which also included musicals and films - and sadly a never-realised "Boris Godunov", of which some splendid drawings have been preserved - and which also revealed a close friendship between the artists Rolf Gérard and Peter Brook. The selection of drawings by Rolf Gérard presented in the exhibition "Creativity and Friendship" illustrates Peter Brook's directing style, to which Gérard reflected not only the outward form but also the inner spirit of the collaboration between the two artists.


  • Exhibitions and fairs