André Derain, Four Bathers in a Landscape, drypoint engraving

Quatre Baigneuses dans un Paysage

(Gilbert 36; see also Sawyer, p. 26, and Lee, p. 38)

drypoint engraving, circa 1908*, on heavy cream-yellow laid paper, with the BFK Rives and Eugene Delâtre watermarks, the rare 2nd state (of two?**), a very fine impression, with substantial burr, signed in pencil by the artist, with full margins (deckle edges all around), a few scattered foxmarks (essentially visible on the reverse), slight time-staining along the upper sheet edge, otherwise in excellent condition

P. 276 x 198mm., S. 610 x 440mm.

Provenance: the Maurice Gobin collection, with the large MG wetstamp in blue (Lugt 1124b)***

As of 1907-8, Derain's painting renounced vibrant colour for structured form, and at the same time his printmaking relinquished the thick fauvist contour for rich facetted tonal fields of hatching and cross-hatching, building figure and ground as if he were sculpting directly into the plate. The parallel with Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon is clear, as the two had already worked together, and were indeed rivals.

It is interesting here to be able to compare the two states, this one being remarkably well finished. The present impression is most probably from the sole 1913 edition by Kahnweiler of 35 impressions, which was not systematically signed or numbered (see below).


* The dating of this print is from Eva Gilbert (see her unpublished doctoral dissertation, 1985) on the basis of stylistic criteria in Derain's painting, and accepted by E. Pernoud.

**These states are not developed in any of the known catalogues and there are no impressions of this print in the Bibliothèque Nationale. Gilbert inventories 7 impressions in public collections, all of the definitive state, only a few of them signed, and only one numbered.

***Maurice Gobin was a prominent print dealer and connoisseur with a shop on the rue Lafitte, active until the early 1950s. In this context it should be noted that the impressions bearing his wetstamp come from his own private collection rather than his commercial inventory. Furthermore it should be added that the present impression was probably the one exhibited in the 1955 André Derain show at the Bibliothèque Nationale, its provenence from the Maurice Gobin collection cited in Gilbert.