Monday, December 14, 2009

Picture of the Week No. 2 - E.S. Grasset

At this early stage of our new Picture of the Week feature it is incredibly hard to make a choice out of so many fantastic works in the collection. At the moment we're all in to our prints here at the Gallery, what with our Edward Bawden show on at the moment - which also includes the fantastic artists from the St. Judes Gallery, and our specially commissioned Mark Hearld print. All the staff have been getting in on the act too with some after-work lino cutting sessions, and I topped all that off with a visit at the weekend to The Fitwilliam's fantastic Odilon Redon exhibition.

So we'll follow last weeks Rembrandt etching with Grasset's lithograph, The Vitriol Thrower.KP

Eugène-Samuel GRASSET (1841 - 1917)
The Vitriol Thrower, 1894

lithograph, 40 ´ 27.5cm (image)
60.3 ´ 43cm (sheet)
inscribed: monogram
inscribed: in plate EAH/D/sc and monogram
in pencil E Grasset No 38

Accesion No: P.857
PROVENANCE: André Candillier, Paris, from whom purchased by Gallery, June 1996.
NOTES: Printed by Eugène Delâtre, the colours stencilled by hand. Published in an edition of 100 with some colour trial proofs.

In 1893 L'Estampe Originale was launched by André Marty, the director of the weekly magazine Journal des Artistes. The intention was for subscribers to receive a series of nine albums which were to be published quarterly. The first eight albums contained ten original prints, the last fourteen.

The Vitriol Thrower was published in the sixth album. It was hand-coloured using the 'pochoir' or stencil process in five colours. There is also a comparable lithograph of a similar nature, La Morphinomane (The Morphine Addict) showing a young girl injecting morphine into her upper left thigh.

Born in Lausanne, Grasset moved to Paris in 1871, working as a designer at a firm making furnishing fabrics. In 1878 he began designing ornamental initial letters (the first published being Les Fêtes Chrétiennes by the Abbé Drioux, 1880) and, during his career he also designed jewellery, stained glass, and ceramics, and supplied illustrations to several magazines.

In 1894 Grasset held his first and only one-man exhibition at the Salon des Cent.


This text originally appeared in Prints, by the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, 2004. Available for £35 plus p&p from the Bedford Gallery Shop, via email on or call 01234 211222

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