Women Bathing in the Shade of Wooded Banks


Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Baigneuses a L’Ombre des Berges Boisees (Women Bathing in the Shade of Wooded Banks), 1894, lithograph, signed in pencil lower right. Reference: Delteil 142, second state (of two). As published in L’Estampe Originale, with their blind stamp lower right (Lugt 819), edition of 100. On chine applique, in very good condition, with very wide margins (the full sheet, slight browning toward sheet edges, a few grease spots on margins far from image; prior hinging verso), 6 1/8 x 8 1/2, the sheet 16 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches, archival mounting (acid free unattached mounts, acid free matting).

A fine impression.

Pissarro made several etchings of nudes bathing in 1894, a year he returned to lithography after a long absence. Baigneuses a L’Ombre is a wonderful example of his ability to create new techniques in printmaking; here he uses tusche (lithographic ink) diluted in benzine or ether, on a zinc plate; he also probably used a greasy crayon (the more traditional lithographic method) as well. The use of tusche is difficult – it’s hard to control. But Pissarro successfully captures the figures playing, and envelopes them in a range of light – from light grays to dark blacks. He wrote: “I have done a whole series of printed lithographic drawings in a romantic style… which seemed to me to have a rather amusing side: Baigneuses, plenty of them, in all sorts of places, in all sorts of paradises.”

In the first state the arm of the woman at the right extended rather vaguely into space; in the second state Pissarro corrected this tendency, and he also selectively lightened the plate, creating more intermediate greys, giving the composition greater  structure and movement.