Bain-Froid Chevrier (Chevrier's Cold Bath Establishment, or The School Baths, Paris)

meryban1Charles Meryon (1821-1868), Bain-Froid Chevrier (Chevrier’s Cold Bath Establishment, or The School Baths, Paris), 1864.  References: Delteil 44 (fourth state of six); Schneiderman 93 (fourth state of five). In very good condition, on cream laid Hudelist paper (with the lettered Hudelist watermark often found on Meryon proof impressions), with wide margins (5 1/4 x 5 5/8, the sheet 11 1/2 x 12 inches), archival mounting.

With a red inked monogram lower right margin, possibly that of Phillip Burty (cf. Lugt 2071), an eminent collector of Meryon prints and author of an early Meryon catalogue.

A very fine proof impression, rare in this early lifetime state. Of the 12 impressions printed in this state, 6 are recorded in museum collections.

In this state the words “Bain Froid Chevrier” were added to the tiny billboard.  After printing the 12 impressions in this state Meryon added lettering below, an extensive verse, his monogram upper center and a few drypoint lines for the later final state which was published in a number of lifetime and also posthumous impressions.

The Ban-Froid Chevrier was one of the floating cold water baths and swimming schools for both sexes which were a feature of the Seine during the summer months.  It was located at the western end of the Ile de la Cite, behind the statue of Henry IV (which is visible in the etching). At the left is Pont Neuf.

In a letter to Jean Lesecq who commissioned this print Meryon wrote that he spent 45 days making this print; he notes: “I first made a drawing of the scene as it is in reality, but finding that the Pont Neuf was too much in profile, I made a second sketch in order to make a more compact composition.”