Attente by Degas
Attente, 1948, Edgar Degas
In this heliogravure, Degas departs from his masterful and brightly colored paintings to create a gritty and darkly colored sketch of the seedy world of prostitution in 19th century Paris.
The audience is forcefully placed in the same room as the prostitute, and can either envision themselves as an artist painting the model or, most likely, will be forced to realize that they are just as likely the client. Here, the woman is not idealized - she is a larger woman with ragged hair, a slipper lazily dangling from her foot and her legs wide open, exposing herself. The bed appears comfortable and inviting, but the muddy colors create an uncomfortable contrast. The image is neither aesthetic nor romantic - instead it is a shockingly cold look at the tragic underworld behind the Parisian Gilded Age.
Edgar Degas (1834-1917) took to monotype printing around 1874, after the amateur etcher Vicomte Ludovic Napoléon Lepic introduced him to the process. For Degas, this singular print process gave him greater freedom to improvise and be spontaneous than drawing on paper allowed. Throughout his lifetime, Degas produced more than 400 different monotypes, a number far greater than his etchings or lithographs.
This heliogravure was printed in 1948 by Les Ateliers G. Bouan & Dreux-Barry, Paris. It is signed in the plate, lower right. It was printed after the extremely rare original monotype. This affordable version is one of only 1,000 that were beautifully printed on Marais paper with a platemark indentation around the image, as with the original. Comes with a copy of Exemplaire sheet, indicating edition number.
Plate size: 5" x 6.5"
Sheet size: 12.25" x 9"
Condition: In excellent condition