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Louis Legrand

1863 – 1951

Les Devoirs by Louis Legrand

Les Devoirs   1904

  Original drypoint and aquatint.
Signed and numbered in pencil.
Arwas 215; Exsteens 192
S 278 x 204 mm; P & I 196 x 128 mm
Very fine signed proof impression, numbered ‘1’ from the edition of only 6 proofs printed on vellum-style ‘parchment’; with Gustave Pellet’s red monogram stamp (Lugt 1193).

Les Devoirs, or Homework, is one of the eighteen original prints which Louis Legrand made for a projected publication of a work called Les Soupeuses by H. Rebell. In this particular image the young girl is seen daydreaming, distracted from her tedious homework by thoughts of travelling through the streets outside in an elegant carriage which can be seen sketched lightly in drypoint towards the top of the plate.

Here we see two of Louis Legrand’s favourite printmaking techniques combined in typically masterly fashion: namely, drypoint and sugar-lift aquatint. Whilst Louis Legrand would use pure drypoint for flowing, sinuous lines and small details, the particular method of aquatint which he employed allowed for especially painterly effects. He would paint his design directly on to the plate using a water-soluble pigment of ink and sugar. The plate would then be varnished and soaked in water, causing the pigment to swell and lift-off the varnish coating the plate. The exposed metal in the areas painted by the artist could then be covered with aquatint ground and bitten in the normal manner. This process allowed the artist to achieve remarkable variety of tonal effect and allowed him the flowing freedom of design so apparent in both this plate and its companion, Une Gosseline.

Only 6 proofs were printed on vellum-style ‘parchment’ and 10 on 'vélin' in this first state of the plate. The remarque of the horse-drawn carriage was then removed from the upper part of the plate and the main edition of 45 impressions was printed.

On vellum-style ‘parchment’, with full margins. Very fine original condition.