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Date
1893
Description

Dernière Nouveauté (original French title)

Zincograph on smooth wove paper.
Reference : Vallotton & Goerg 44.1.
Signed and numbered “47” in blue pencil.
This print is in perfect condition.
Provenance: Henri M. Petiet, Paris, with his monogram stamp on the verso (Lugt 5031).

Félix Vallotton (1865-1925) was interested in human interactions, both private and public.  In the former it is the intimacy of couples' lives that dominates.  These works rarely show the happy moments... which probably reflected a less than happy marriage of his own.
In our composition a woman is out on the town, and looking at latest available fabrics in a store.  At a time when "pret-a-porter" didn't exist, this was what you did to prepare your next fashion statement.  She does not seem particularly happy in this moment however.  Her hand seems outstretched towards the salesman, rather than to be touching the fabric, as would be expected in such a situation.  Is she seeking intimacy?  If she is, the presence of her young son, who is barely noticeable in the foreground, must surely be holding her back.
Vallotton's visual intelligence is at its very best here.  The darkness of the figures' dress is ominous.  The reserved gestures of each character speaks loudly. And the contained square format of the overall composition, in which a mother figuratively makes her son disappear "inside of her", is as tight as can be.  In few square inches Vallotton masterfully manages to tell a hundred stories of longing, love and frustration.

Size
8 5/8 x 9 5/8 inches
Price
$975