Exceptionally early working proof impression printed just after the initial aquatint ground had been laid upon the plate and with only certain of the essential figure details defined in drypoint. Prior to the remarque. Exsteens’ second state of seven. Extremely rare - only eight sets to include proofs of this nature were ever released.
Late in Félicien Rops’s life the Parisian publisher Gustave Pellet approached the artist with the idea of allowing the outstanding engraver and master of aquatint, Albert Bertrand (1854-1912), to make engravings of his works. Rops embraced the idea with great enthusiasm as he approved wholeheartedly of both Bertrand’s artistic manner and technical expertise. The brilliant mixed method prints which Albert Bertrand produced as a result of this union are now amongst the most sought after of all hand-made etchings and engravings both by and after Félicien Rops.
Engraved by Bertrand for Félicien Rops, while the artist was still alive. When asked by Gustave Pellet whether he was satisfied with Bertrand’s work on this plate, Rops replied to Pellet in a letter of July 1895: “C’est plus que de la satisfaction, c’est de l’enchantement.”
This marvellous genre scene typifies Félicien Rops’s cynical humour when observing Flemish society. The elderly woman at the left of the image is recounting a tale of moral turpitude to some of the local ladies of the fishing port over coffee. The mixed reactions on the faces of her audience tell us everything regarding both the nature of her story and the varied moral positions of her listeners. The staid woman standing in the centre looks shocked, the seated elderly lady shows a look of reproach and faint disgust, whilst the waitress in the background looks mildly amused. A wry humour plays on the face of another, whilst it is clear that the attractive and elaborately dressed young lady seated at the right of the table is aware that the situation being recounted may be all too pertinent to her own position.
On heavy wove paper with full margins and deckle edge. Very fine original condition.