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Saturday 2 March 2024

Émile Boilvin’s etching, “Baigneuse”, 1887

Émile Boilvin (1845–1899)

“Baigneuse” (Bather), 1887, published in Paris as an illustration to the poem by Henri Cazalis (1840–1909) (aka [pseudonyms] Jean Casell; Jean Lahor)—now famous for coining the term “Les Nabis” for avant-garde artists seeking to revitalise art in a way that ancient prophets had revitalised Israel—“La Femme et l’Onde” (The Woman and the Wave), page 46 in the art periodical, “Revue Illustrée: les Lettres et les Arts”, volume 2, 1888 (

Etching and drypoint on cream wove paper, signed and dated in the plate.

Size: (sheet) 32.1 x 22.9 cm; (plate) 26.8 x 18.8 cm; (image borderline) 22.6 x 17 cm.

Inscribed in plate at lower left corner: “E[mile] Boilvin inv. et sc 1887”.

Beraldi not described (?) (Henri Béraldi 1885, “Les graveurs du XIXe siècle: Guide de l'amateur d'estampes modernes: BELLANGÉ–BOVINET”, vol. 2, Paris, Librairie L. Conquet, pp.148–151).

Beraldi (1885) offers the following insightful and glowing assessment of Émile Boilvin: “(transl.) Delicate and distinguished talent which comes from the masters of the French school of the 18th century; elegant and fine drawing, very careful engraving. There is no artist more demanding of himself: Bolvin delivers nothing with which he is not absolutely satisfied; what only half pleases him is immediately destroyed. Perhaps he even pushes scruples too far which certainly deprive us of excellent works” (vol. 2, pp. 148–49).

Note that Boilvin executed a related etching of a standing bather for the Société des Amis de l'Eau-Forte; see

Condition: a strong and well-printed (near faultless) impression. Beyond a closed/backed tear/chip in the left margin, the sheet is in an excellent condition with no holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing.

I am selling this finely executed and very beautiful etching of a nude young woman bathing executed 24 years after the controversy/scandal surrounding Manet’s “Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe” (1863) and “Olympia” (1863), for AU$226 in total (currently US$147.48/EUR136.07/GB116.54 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this simply marvellous etching worthy of close study—note, for instance, the velvety drypoint blacks describing the shadows of the foreground rocks—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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