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Augustus Edwin John

1879 – 1961

La Gravida by Augustus Edwin John

La Gravida   1902

  Original pencil drawing and etching.
Signed by the artist and inscribed in pencil.
Ref: Campbell Dodgson 100, prior to first state.
S 223 x 158 mm; P & I 125 x 99 mm
Unique pencil drawing and etching, prior to the earliest recorded state of the etched work.

This unique working proof impression of La Gravida consists of considerably more pencil drawing than etching. Campbell Dodgson recorded the earliest state of this etching as showing the image virtually complete, save for a medallion which was added subsequently to the model’s necklace. This unique example is an impression taken from the etching plate in a much earlier state, when the artist had completed only the model’s head and neck, down to the necklace. The remainder of the image has been drawn in by Augustus John in pencil, indicating the etched work which he intended to be added within the confines of the plate (this work was added in etching by the time of Dodgson’s first state). Signed in pencil by Augustus John and further inscribed “La Gravida. First state. Unique. With pencil additions by artist.”

It is clear that this early proof must have been created by Augustus John whilst he was still in Liverpool, working as teacher of art at the university. This exceptionally early working proof is prior to the etched signature and date, 1902; both of which were added as the etched work developed, and both of which appear in Dodgson’s first state. Augustus John only moved back to London during 1902 and the handling of this particular work is entirely consistent with his first etched figure studies, made in Liverpool during the period 1901-1902.

It is remarkable to find a working proof which demonstrates so elaborately an artist’s approach to etching. We can find no record of any comparable work by Augustus John ever having been offered for sale.

On off-white wove paper with full margins and deckle edge. Very good original condition.