Suzanne Valadon

Valadon, Fille aux Gros Seins E16, 1908, soft-ground etching with drypoint

Fille aux Gros Seins et Femme Vieille

[Girl with Large Breasts and Old Woman]

Pétridès 16

drypoint engraving*, 1908, a fine "monotyped" impression, with selective wiping and plate tone, signed lower right in pencil, numbered "6/20" lower left, annotated "pointe sèche" in the lower right corner, on medium-weight cream laid paper, with a partial "Ingres 1871" watermark**, with good (full?) margins, before the 1932 Daragnès edition ***; the sheet however has been poorly conserved:  some surface soiling and handling creases, maculations, indentations, scuffing and a few foxmarks, several pinholes, notably all along the upper edge, slight waterstaining lower left corner, lower right corner torn, a few very small tears in the margins, otherwise in reasonably good condition

P. 332 x 293 mm., S. 436 x 376 mm.

Suzanne Valadon here eliminates the setting completely, focussing on the figural counterpoint (old/young, dressed/nude, working/idling, bent-over/outstretched), around three grouped props that structure the composition (tub, fauteuil and drapery); she further uses the printing technique to advantage in her inking of the plate.

Pétridès (E16) does not mention the existence of an early numbered edition of this print, but the present impression may be dated approximately to the time the plate was etched, this on the basis of the 1871 watermark (see note below).

*  This print is usually designated as a "drypoint" (cf. Pétridès), which is further attested by the annotation, as well as the texture of the line.  Suzanne Valadon's working technique here though  differs markedly from the usual sense of drypoint engraving as she seems to have belabored each line, creating a central furrow that is clearly seen under magnification in raking light (detail); each line is so charged that it literally stands out as an embossed contour on the verso.

**  We have seen this paper on a number of works specifically dating to 1905-1910, notably several Picasso drawings from 1907-1908 in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (see the catalogue of Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2010, notably the Technical Note on page 94), or for example an André Derain woodcut, Frise, Adhemar 12, 1906 (PIASA sale, 8 December, 2005).

***  This large-format album (Dix-Huit Planches Originales de Suzanne Valadon, gravées de 1895 à 1910, Daragnes, Paris 1932), with a preface by Claude Roger-Marx, contained eighteen original prints, and printed in an edition of 75.