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Masters of the Etching Revival

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Femme au vase

1894
19th century
28.6 cm x 21.85 cm (11 1/4 in. x 8 5/8 in.)

Paul Albert Besnard (Paris, France, 1849 - 1934, Paris, France) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, French
Medium and Support: Drypoint and etching
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of the children of L.M. Tonkin, 1966
Accession Number: G1966.2.76

Having traveled to Morocco and Spain in the early 1890s, Besnard overwintered in Algiers in 1893-94. Like Delacroix decades before him, he was drawn to the sultry, closed interiors associated with the women's quarters. He was equally fond of Japanese prints; and he combined some of the organic, decorative motifs, flattened perspective and geometric partitioning of the surface found in them with a stifling orientalist compression of space to give us a modern French man's suspicious regard of women. Femme au vase foreshadows his famous etched series Elle (1900), in which an allegory of death is portrayed as a woman – probably one of the best pictorial essays on the notion of the femme fatale commonly held at the end of the nineteenth century.

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