Mirror of Illusion – First State

Arthur B. Davies (1862-1928), Mirror of Illusion (aka The Mirror; Maya; Mirror No. 2), drypoint, signed with the estate stamp lower right. Reference: Czestochowski 31, first state (of 2). In generally good condition, with margins (creasing and folds in margins, browning toward edges), 6 3/8 x 8 3/8, the sheet 8 7/8 x 11 1/4 inches.

A fine proof impression of the first state, printed with a heavy plate tone. In the first state the design is made with drypoint only, and the platemaker’s name is clearly visible on the middle right margin.

The platemaker’s inscription reads: John Sellers and Sons. 151 Arundel Street, Sheffield.  In the second state the name/label was obscured, and the design was expanded, including the addition of soft ground and roulette to the figures and the background.

The composition for Mirror of Illusion was first created for a painting of the same name done much earlier and exhibited in 1909. The composition reflects Davies’s interest in parallelism, or the repetition of figures. Czestochowski quotes Davies on this (p. 24): “I love clarity in a painting and this is why I love Parallelism. In many of my paintings I have chosen four or five figures in order to express this feeling because I know that impressionism is enhanced by the repetition of one and the same object.”