The Lock Tender's Wife
La Femme de l’Eclusier or L’Eclusière (original French titles)
Color woodcut on thin simili-japon paper, 1901.
Refs: not in BN-IFF; Addade p. 53.
Edition of 60. Published by Charles Hessèle, with his monogram stamp (Lugt 554).
Signed, titled, and numbered in pencil.
Early etchings by Bernard Boutet de Monvel revisited subjects he had drawn or painted at a young age. In 1899 and beyond, just 18 years old, he created beautiful color aquatints with soft-ground etching outlines. Subject matters centered around the river Loing, just south of the forest of Fontainebleau, where Bernard and his brother spent a lot of time with his paternal family. In his prints barges progress slowly on the river or lazily wait for the next leg of the journey. The people who populated this artery of early 20th century commerce also feature prominently. In these early prints Bernard Boutet de Monvel also depicted older sitters, which he clearly respected and admired. These portraits of old women and men are elegant and delicate, created with great care of color and texture.