Lot 4: DOUBLE-SIDED DRAWING JAMES ENSOR, (BELGIAN, 1860-1949), "LA PARESSE" AND "LA LUXURE"
December 6, 2016
Philadelphia, PA, USALive Auction
"LA PARESSE" AND "LA LUXURE"
Signed bottom left on each side, inscribed with the name ''Albert Croquez'' upper left on "La Luxure," pencil on paper.
Executed circa 1888-1902.
6 11/16 x 8 13/16 in. (17 x 22.4cm)
Collection of Albert Croquez, Paris, France.
By family descent.
Private Collection, Pennsylvania.
Albert Croquez, l''Oeuvre Gravé de James Ensor,Geneva/Brussels: Éditions Pierre Cailler, 1947, no. 119 (illustrated).
This lot is accompanied by a photo-certificate of authenticity issued by Xavier Tricot and dated 22 October 2016.
The sheet is toned, also with time staining and wear consistent with its age. Faint surface soiling. The bottom sheet edge is uneven and exhibits some nicks and losses, which may have been caused if the drawing was torn from a sketchbook, as seems plausible since this was a prepartory sketch for the print series "The Seven Deadly Sins'". Minor losses at all four corners. With an approx. 1/4 inch horizontal tear at the center of one of the vertical sheet edges, an approx. 1/4 inch vertical tear at one of the horizontal sheet edges, as well as general wear, nicks etc at extreme edges. With foxing and/or brown staining variously. With an approx. 1 x 1/4 inch area of skinning to the paper in the area directly below the man's face in "La Paresse".
Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Interested bidders are strongly encouraged to request a condition report on any lots upon which they intend to bid, prior to placing a bid. All transactions are governed by Freeman's Conditions of Sale.
In 1904, James Ensor published a portfolio of etchings entitled "The Seven Deadly Sins," a series of satirical prints based upon the traditional Christian themes of morality. The artist began work on the first of these prints as early as 1888, and continued his investigation of the subject until the portfolio''s ultimate release 16 years later. The present double-sided drawing depicts Ensor''s original pencil studies for the sins of "Sloth" ("La Paresse") and "Lust" ("La Luxure").
Interestingly, the etching for "Lust" dates from 1888 and the etching for "Sloth" dates from 1902. It is possible that Ensor created both of the present drawings in 1888, and returned to this study when he began work on the "Sloth" print 14 years later. Alternatively, perhaps the artist drew "Lust" in 1888, and used the back of that sheet of paper for a second sketch in 1902. Whether Ensor completed these drawings contemporaneously or over the course of his multi-year exploration of the seven deadly sins, the present drawing offers an exceptional and intimate glimpse into the working method of the artist.