La Couseuse (The Seamstress)


Jacques Villon (1875-1963), La Couseuse (The Seamstress), 1905, signed in pencil lower right margin. Reference: Ginestet and Pouillon 147, Auberty and Perussaux 96. On a heavy cream laid paper with a partial initials watermark. In good condition apart from slight time stain; soft fold along a laid paper line, a few marks in margins. Archival mounting. With margins, 6 3/8 x 6 3/8, the sheet 8 1/2 x 11 1/4 inches.

A fine, black atmospheric impression, with the drypoint burr fresh and satiny.

This is an exceedingly rare impression. When Ginestet and Poullon did their recent catalogue raisonne of Villon’s prints they were unable to locate an impression, and so made a photo of the impression shown in the very early Auberty and Perussaux catalogue. This impression is before any burnishing of the plate (if indeed it was burnished), so the platemarks are quite prominent.  It was never editioned and exists in at most a few impressions.

In this relatively early period in Villon’s career as a printmaker, he made a number of color aquatints, and also began a series of very personal drypoints of his (and his sister Suzanne and his brother Marcel Duchamp’s) family as well as those of children (including the famed Minne series). This extraordinarily successful portrait appears to be within the latter tradition.