Lot 31: EUGÈNE GRASSET (1845-1917). [MEDITATION.] 1897. 30x17 inches, 78x44 cm. [Malherbe, Paris.]

Swann Auction Galleries

January 26, 2017, 1:30 PM EST
New York, NY, US
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Description: EUGÈNE GRASSET (1845-1917) [MEDITATION.] 1897.
30 3/4x17 1/2 inches, 78x44 1/2 cm. [Malherbe, Paris.]
Condition B+: repaired tear from top edge into central image; repaired tears, creases and overpainting in margins. Matted and framed. Unexamined out of frame.
Capitalizing on the poster craze sweeping through France during the fin-de-siècle, publishers began to issue large-format decorative panels designed by the best poster artists. Mucha''s work was mass-marketed by his printer Champenois, and Chéret''s panels were printed by Chaix. Grasset''s panels began in small format with two plates for L''Estampe Originale. By 1896, he was working on a series of 10 full-size panels (Dix Estampes Decoratives) for his printer, Malherbe. In these panels, Grasset uses representations of women and nature to express states of mind or moods. The influence of Japanese prints is clear, including the use of flat colors and broad outlining. Unlike Mucha''s sensual approach, Grasset''s women, in their static poses, exert a fascinating, hypnotizing effect. Meditation is arguably Grasset''s best panel, as the image of a woman lost in her thoughts in the silence of nature so perfectly reflects Grasset''s style. The series was acclaimed in 1897 at the Libre Esthétique in Brussels and then at the inaugural Secession Exhibition in Vienna. Arwas p. 71, Murray Robertson p. 126, Art Nouveau p. 107.
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