Old Woman Smoking Her Pipe
La Vieille Femme Fumant sa Pipe (original French title)
Soft-ground and line etching, and aquatint on wove paper, 1892.
Reference: Morane 48.
Edition of 50.
Signed and numbered in pencil.
Faint scattered foxing in the margins, unobtrusive.
First off, in our opinion, the sitter of this composition is not old, as the title suggests. She may have been old in 1892. But by today’s standards, her features don’t seem to indicate truly old age.
With a mischievous smile, this middle-aged Breton woman poses for the artists. Smoke is wafting up from the pipe. She may have taken a drag a breath ago or be about to take one, but for now, she is just relishing the attention. She is not really looking at the artist, but she is also acknowledging his presence by casting a glance in his direction. Her large, muscular hands show just how hard she works. She’s a woman from the land. And a wedding band indicates that when it comes to smoking a pipe, no husband gets to tell was befits this woman. She’s already gotten a meal started on the hearth, so she is not a slacker! And she’s taking a deserved break now.