Andromede

Jean-Emile Laboureur (1877-1943), Andromede, engraving, 1935, signed in pencil lower left and numbered (6/15) and annotated “imp” lower right. Reference: Laboureur 504, fourth state (of 5), from the printing of 15 impressions in this state (about 33 in the first four states, a total of about 129 including unsigned impressions in the last state). In very good condition, printed on a Rives cream wove paper, the full sheet, 19 x 12 3/4, the sheet 25 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches.

Provenance: HM Petiet (Lugt 5031, with his stamp verso)

A fine impression, before the printing of a title below the image in the final state.

This is one of the most remarkable engravings in Laboureur’s oeuvre. The title refers to the mythological Andromede, chained to a rock upper center of the composition, who is the daughter of the Ethiopian king Cepheus and his wife Cassiopeia. When Cassiopeia’s hubris leads her to boast of Andromeda’s beauty, Poseidon sends the sea monster Cetus to ravage Andromeda as divine punishment.Andromeda is stripped and chained naked to a rock as a sacrifice to sate the monster, but is saved from death by Perseus).

But of course Andromede is only an incidental character in the composition. The title roles are played by the sea creatures, which are for the most part accurately portrayed by the artist. In an exhibit in 1977 Jacqueline Loyer, using Laboureur’s notes and illustrations, as well as the volumes which Laboureur used as sources, identified virtually all of these creatures; these identifications are noted in the catalog raisonne by Sylvan Laboureur.