Félicien Rops

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Félicien Rops
A Bourbonnais Woman
ca. 1875
Black chalk with smudging on blue laid paper.
12 7/8 x 9 3/4 inches (327 x 247 mm)
The Joseph F. McCrindle Collection.

Celebrated as an etcher and technical innovator in printmaking, Rops began working with the French publisher Poulet-Malassis in 1864. By the 1870s, his oeuvre, impacted by his close friendship with Baudelaire, delved into the erotic and bizarre, which made his reputation. This sheet represents a less sensational aspect of his work: studies from life made shortly after he moved from Belgium to Essonnes, a town in what is now the Parc naturel regional du Gâtinais Français south of Paris. This study is related to his 1875 print "Peasant from Bourbonnais" (Paysanne du Bourbonnais) and reveals the artist exploring his surroundings and eventually transforming these observations into prints. Initially focused on the head and shoulders of a woman wearing the traditional dress of the Bourbonnais region, a historical province in central France, he only loosely sketches the rest of her figure. It is unclear if she is meant to be seated or standing or what is the exact position of her hands. In the subsequent drypoint etching, we find the woman seated in a chair, gazing down, her hands in her lap. In the artist's notes, he titled the print "Woman from Gâtinais" (Femme du Gâtinais), a title shared with another version of the seated woman set in an interior by a pot over a hearth, with extensive shading and stronger chiaroscuro than the previous plate (Rouir 1987, nos. 584, 585). He was living in Gâtinais, a historic province south of Paris, adjacent to the Forest of Fontainebleau and its nearby artist colony at Barbizon.
Rops wrote to the artist and collector Maurice Bonvoisin on 9 July 1879 referring to this sheet: "The sketch you have was made in Recloses, a village in the Fontainebleau forest 1/4 of a league from the Fôret, 'discovered' by me!!" ("Le croquis que tu as, a été fait aux Recloses, village de la fôret de Fontainebleau à 1/4 de lieue de la Fôret, 'découvert' par moi!!"). As the inscription indicates, the drawing was sent to Auguste Poulet-Malassis, the artist's publisher in Brussels.
Rouir, Eugène., and Rops, Félicien. Félicien Rops, "Catalogue Raisonné De L'oeuvre Gravé Et Lithographié / Eugène Rouir." Bruxelles: C. Van Loock, 1987.


Inscribed on verso in pen and brown ink, "A remettre à la station / de Floreffe expéditeur: / M F. Rops"; "Monsieur Poulet: Malassis / Editeur / Rue Marcellis / 35 lis [?] / Faubourg [...] / Bruxelles".

Joseph F. McCrindle (1923-2008), New York
Associated names: 

McCrindle, Joseph F., former owner.

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