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Sunday 10 March 2024

Ludovic Lepic’s etching, “Danse”, c.1876

Ludovic Lepic (aka Ludovic Napoléon Lepic; Vicomte Ludovic Lepic) (1839–1889)

“Danse”, c.1876, published in Paris in 1876 by the Librairie des bibliophiles “L’Opéra: Eaux-Fortes et Quatrains, par un Abonné”. Based on the context of this print in the publication (see, I believe that the portrayed feet are those of the Italian ballet dancer, Rita Sangalli (1849–1909) whose performing skills (possibly at the Paris Opera Ballet where she was performing at the time [1872–1884]) are described by a series of correlatives: (transl.) “It's Kachel in a swimsuit, Melpomène in a petticoat. It's Diana the Huntress pursuing Actaeon”.

Drypoint with plate tone on fine laid paper.

Size: (sheet) 17.8 x 10.5 cm; (plate) 9.9 x 8 cm.

Inscribed in plate: (lower centre on banderole) “DANSE”; (lower right) “Lepic”.

Beraldi 7 (Henri Beraldi 1889, “Les Graveurs du XIXe Siècke; guide de l'amateur d'estampes modernes”, vol. 9, Paris, L Conquet, p. 143, cat. no. 7 [series: L’Opéra: Eaux-Fortes et Quatrains, par un Abonné]).

Henri Beraldi (1889) offers the following insight about Lepic’s approach to wiping the etching plate: (transl.) “… Count Lepic was particularly attached to the question of the impression, and the varieties of effects that obtained from a plate according to the inking mode. ... he would say, ‘the secret of etching as I get it … is the use of ink and rag: with these two weapons you can get anything from a plate. I am master in front of my plate as in front of a canvas, I can transform all the subjects according to my fancy, modify their effects. This process existed from the time of great master engravers, and I have found it’. ... Count Lepic called this kind of printing with the rather singular name ‘mobile etching’ [l’eau-forte mobile]." (p. 144).

Condition: a richly inked impression in a near pristine condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or stains.

I am selling this small drypoint by one of the truly remarkably creative printmakers of the nineteenth century—famous for his inventive variations in wiping the etching plate, “l’eau-forte mobile”—for the total cost of AU$232 (currently US$153.45/EUR140.25/GBP119.41 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this curiously unusual and visually striking drypoint, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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