Les Chats (The Cats)
Guérin 52, Harris 64, Fisher 51
Etching and aquatint
Published by Strölin, Paris.
7 1/16 x 8 11/16 in. (18.0 x 22.0 cm)
A very beautiful impression from the posthumous edition of 1905 in bistre ink on chine appliqué, with the touch of aquatint at the feet of the chair still apparent. Full margins. Edition of 100. Although there exist some extremely rare lifetime impressions, this etching was not published until after Manet's death.
Cats feature in several of Manet's prints (Olympia, Rendez-Vous de Chats and Le Chat et les Fleurs). In this etching resembling a sheet drawn from a sketchbook, Manet uses visual codes of his own to bring out the figures of the cats: very short, delicate, parallel lines for the white fur and long, sinuous, dense lines for the black fur. The simplicity, the economy of lines, the absence of modeling and perspective, the swaths of tint and emptiness in these three cat studies owes to the influence of Japanese ink paintings and prints on Manet. In a very unique way, Manet thoughtfully conveys the elegant movements, the suppleness and the discreet idleness of the cats and demonstrates an acute sense of observation in this beautiful and endearing etching.
M. Guérin, 'L'Oeuvre Gravé de Manet', Paris, 1944.
J. M. Fisher, 'The Prints of Edouard Manet', Washington, 1985.
J. C. Harris, J. M. Smith, 'Edouard Manet, The Graphic Work, A Catalogue Raisonné, Revised Edition', San Francisco, 1990.
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