Femme de Chagrin
Theophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923), Femme de Chagrin, 1894, lithograph, signed in pencil lower right [also signed in the plate lower center]. Reference: Crauzat 454, first state (of two), with color added and before lettering except for the title. In very good condition apart from oil stains at edges (away from matrix), with margins, 10 3/4 x 7 1/2, the sheet 12 1/2 x 10 3/4 inches.
A fine impression with printed in rich black ink with fresh color added (au patron).
This is the first state for a music cover, a children’s lullaby (berceuse) with the title shown but before the words in the sky and additional lettering showing the names of the composer (Desire Dihau), lyricist (Leon Durocher) and publisher (G. Ondet).
The first state consisted of 100 proofs according to Crauzat: 20 on Japon, 40 on Chine, and the remainder on velin such as this impression; lettering was added in the second state. Coloring was done “au patron”, i.e., according to a pattern, or stenciled (the French patron can mean pattern, although this is not the first meaning of the term, i.e., see below).
Tim Hanford, Steinlen expert and compiler of the fine Steinlen website, has a different interpretation of the term “au patron,”, which probably should be given more credibility than mine. He wrote me, and I quote: “I just saw this great Steinlen piece on your site. In your description, you write, “Coloring was done ‘au patron’, i.e., according to a pattern, or stenciled.” I don’t think that’s the correct translation. I have always thought that when Crauzat included this annotation, he meant that proofs were colored at the request of a customer (i.e., patron). This explains why some first state proofs were left in their original black and white while others were colored.”