Original Albert Besnard etching.
Rare first state proof. Prior to the addition of a light aquatint ground across the entire surface of the plate.
Brilliant impression with clear, crisp etched line. Signed and inscribed in pencil by the artist "1 etat encre".
Created during the most successful period of Albert Besnard's life, La Misère was designed for the series of twelve subjects entitled La Femme. This series was intended to depict various aspects of the humanity of woman from joy and success, to despair and death. This etching depicts the death of a blind child, in a dingy room, whose mother has been forced to use her own clothes to cover her infant.
The gifted painter-etcher Paul-Albert Besnard was born in Paris in 1849. Brought up by his mother, after his father's premature death, Albert Besnard was educated from the outset with the aim of becoming an artist. By 1869 he had begun printmaking and by 1874 he had won the Prix de Rome for painting. In 1879 he moved to England where he became aquainted with Whistler, Bracquemond and, above all, Alphonse Legros. Legros exerted a tremendous influence upon Albert Besnard's printed work and it was under Legros's guidance that Besnard established both his printmaking techniques and his predominent, morbid style of subject matter.
Albert Besnard returned to Paris in 1883, achieving his first widespread artistic fame by the year 1886 - the year in which this etching was made. A work of great tenderness and compassion, this powerful image was designed for his magnificent series of etchings entitled La Femme. Completed by 1887, it was this remarkable series of plates which was to establish Albert Besnard's lifelong prominence as an original etcher.
On form laid paper with full margins and deckle edge. Very good original condition. Image surface excellent.