Thursday, 29 December 2016

Anders Zorn’s etching, “Rosita Mauri”


Anders Zorn (aka Anders Leonard Zorn) (1860–1920)
“Rosita Mauri”, 1889, published in the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts”, printed by L Eudes (fl. 1876-88).
Etching printed in bistre coloured ink on light brown wove paper with margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 26.8 x 18.1; (plate) 23.6 x 15.8 cm; (image borderline) 21.8 x 14.3 cm
Inscribed within the image: (lower right) “Zorn ‘89”
Lettered below the image borderline: (lower left) “Zorn del. & sc.”; (lower centre) “ROSITA MAURI”; (lower right) “Gazette des Beaux-Arts. / Imp. Eudes”
State iv (of v)
Sanchez & Seydoux 1891-5; Delteil no.34 (IV/V); Asplund 34; Hjert & Hjert 27

Condition: crisp and well-printed impression with margins, as published, in near pristine condition. There is a light fold on the lower corner (visible verso).

I am selling this iconic etching by Zorn for a total cost of AU$375 (currently US$314.71/EUR301.18/GBP256.78 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this very important print epitomising the Belle Époque in Paris, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This is arguably the most famous of Zorn’s etchings. The subject is the prima ballerina, Rosita Mauri (aka Roseta Mauri y Segura; María Isabel Amada Antonia Rosa Mauri Segura) (1850–1923). Rosita is not only famous for her reputation as dancer of international standing, but also as a model for many artists—notably Degas—during the golden age of Parisian life: La Belle Époque (1871–1914).

What I find interesting about this print, beyond the stylish virtuosity of the angled strokes, is Zorn’s use of what may be described as faux white Chinese calligraphy to suggest the fabric pattern on Rosita’s dress. Not only do these white—or more correctly, “negative”—strokes reveal Zorn’s resourcefulness in merging Oriental aesthetics with Occidental tastes but the marks also exhibit the sensitivity of his approach to drawing in that they visually “slow down” the slippery course of the angled hatched lines.

Sometimes I find myself having to defend the consummate skills of Zorn as he makes drawing seem so easy. This is a shame as his sublime skill in suggesting the silhouette edges of forms without literally drawing outlines and to suggest colour through the juxtaposition of different qualities of line is a magical gift.






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