Etching and aquatint in colors, c. 1898, (B.N. Inv. F.F. 6; Cate & Grivel 64a & 64b, illus. pp. 40-41) on a cream laid paper. Signed lower right and numbered “51” in grey pencil lower left.
Eugène DELÂTRE (1854-1938). Femme au Parasol.
- At least two copperplates were used to print this impression, one for the areas of tone achieved by aquatint, the other for the delicately etched lines detailing her profile, the murmuring green leaves in the woods behind and the lustrous black feathers on her hat.
The appealing image of a young woman with a parasol may well have been inspired by Manet‘s etching “Jeanne - - Le Printemps” (published in 1890), which features the same composition with the central figure facing the opposite direction.
While Delâtre conceived this print in several color variations, this particular impression excels in its rich, warm yellows and refreshing greens; creating a tenderly-recalled memory of an early summer afternoon in French countryside.
A son of the master printer Auguste Delâtre, Eugène learned printmaking techniques as a very young man. By his late teens he was an accomplished artist and printer. Together with the artists Charles Mourin, Jean Francois Raffäelli and Manuel Robbe he fostered the revival of color etching in the 1880’s and was a founding member of the Société de la Gravure Originale en Couleurs (The Society for Original Color Engraving).
Delâtre invented many new techniques for blending the colors to create the subtlest of shades. The variety of effects achieved by printing one ink on top of another resulted in exquisite proofs of his etched oeuvre. He often inked his copperplates à la poupée (with the doll -- a small wad of fabric, used to apply different inks selectively to the design etched on copperplate. The inked plate is then printed only once, at which point the artist has to painstakingly repeat the process. As a result each of Delâtre’s proofs are unique – no one impression is quite like another – and his editions are very limited.