Nov 02, 2021 - Sale 2585

Sale 2585 - Lot 186

Price Realized: $ 6,240
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 8,000
Au Louvre, la peinture, Mary Cassatt.

Etching, aquatint and drypoint on cream laid paper, 1879-80. 303x126 mm; 11 7/8x5 inches, full margins. Twenty-first state (of 21), with the aquatint on the door frame, dado and parquet floor; a proof in this state with the cancellation lines concealed to appear like an uncancelled impression. A brilliant, richly-inked impression of this scarce proof.

According to Reed and Shapiro, "The composition of the print was firmly established in the first state. As the plate progressed, Degas focused on and further developed various elements of the figures and setting. Substantial work was added by means of aquatint or subtracted by burnishing as Degas concentrated on perfecting the relationship of shape, pattern, and tone. The hat of Mary Cassatt (the standing figure) appears in four different shapes, and the doorjamb assumes seven different marbleized patterns. In addition, the floor and picture wall undergo a number of tonal adjustments.

From the first to the twelfth states Degas used linear means to describe the dark silhouettes of the two visitors, who are situated amidst a variety of marble and wood textures. The strong contrasts of black and white create a decorative effect, which causes the image to be read as a flat pattern. For the last eight states Degas experimented with tonal techniques to simplify or mask the specific textures. Although the museum goers are still silhouettes in the final state of the print, they are depicted in a subdued light, and the space around them is more logically realized." Delteil 29; Adhémar 54; Reed and Shapiro 52.