The Expectant Thistles


George Biddle (1885-1973), The Expectant Thistles, 1928, lithograph, signed and dated in pencil lower right, titled and numbered in pencil lower left [also inscribed in the plate lower left Biddle/1928/46]. References: Pennigar 80, Trotter 46, only state, from the edition of 100. Printed by George C. Miller. On cream wove Rives paper, the full sheet with deckle edges, in pristine condition (never framed or matted), 7 x 11 1/4, the sheet 11 1/2 x 15 3/4 inches. Archival mounting (mylar unattached hinging between acid free mats, glassine cover).

A fine fresh impression; a good example of Biddle’s technique of scratching and sanding the lithographic stone in order to get detailed effects (which sometimes approximated the appearance of drypoint burr in etching).

The year 1928 was important for Biddle; he made many of his greatest images of Haiti and Mexico (where he traveled with Diego Rivera) in this year.

The composition of The Expectant Thistles reflects the experience Biddle had working with Jules Pascin, who became his friend and colleague when Biddle was in Paris from 1924-6. The composition is modernist – without rigid adherence to conventional positioning and depth, and it’s witty too; while Pascin typically populated sheets such as this with nudes, Biddle turns to donkeys, and a few tiny (dressed) people as well.