Ya van Desplumados (There They Go Plucked, i.e., Fleeced), Plate 20 Los Caprichos
Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Ya van Desplumados (There They Go Plucked, i.e., Fleeced), etching, burnished aquatint and drypoint, 1799. Reference: Harris 55, Delteil 57; plate 20 from Los Caprichos, The First Edition (of 12). In good condition, with margins (soiling in margins, remains of binding holes at left; 8 1/2 x 6, the sheet 12 x 7 7/8 inches.
A very good impression, printed in sepia on soft but strong laid paper, as specified by Harris for the First Edition impressions. Printed in two shades of aquatint, one very pale, the other darker. This can be seen perhaps most vividly at the bottom of the composition; also compare the wings of the bird at top to the background. The drypoint touches on the faces of the two “bird-men” at the lower left are quite clear, as are the flecks on the right leg of the bird-man at the right.
After the impressions of the First Edition (about 300) the Caprichos was printed posthumously in 11 additional editions, none of which are comparable in quality to the lifetime impressions.
Goya’s commentary on this print: If they have already been plucked, get them out: there will be others coming along. (Perhaps a version of P.T. Barnum’s “There’s a sucker born every minute.”)