Women from Ushant
Femmes d’Ouessant (original French title)
Aquatint with touches of drypoint printed in color à la poupée on simili-japon paper.
Reference: Ginestet et Pouillon 81.
Second state of three. Eighteen impressions in this state, before the final edition of 50 in the third.
Signed, dated, and numbered in pencil.
In the second state, the end of daylight makes for a somewhat gloomy and ominous ambiance. In the final state, Villon brightened the color palette to be more highly contrasted for a daytime mood. While both color schemes have their strength, this one makes the composition more muted. It does however fit the scene more aptly. Three generations of fisherwomen are awaiting the return of the men. While the grandmother in the foreground seems stoic, used to the wait, or resigned to the possibility of loss of life, the young mother seems to squint, expectantly, hoping for a safe return. The girls have been dressed up, perhaps for Sunday mass, or simply to celebrate the return of their father. No matter the outcome, Villon chose to symbolize the harsh nature of this life with sharp-edged thistles in the foreground taking up nearly a quarter of the composition. And do you notice the fading horse in the background, unconcerned by human tragedy it peacefully grazes...