La Famille Cardinal - Pauline and Virginie Cardinal conversing with Admirers

La Famille Cardinal – Pauline and Virginie Cardinal conversing with Admirers

La Famille Cardinal from the Edition #160/350 | Soft Ground Etching | c1938 | Plate: 6.25" x 8.25"


Monod 5797, Adhemar 71, Skira 58, Stern 25 Original Soft-Ground Etching, 1938 – 39 First State. #160 from the edition of 350 on Velin de Rives paper From La Famille Cardinal, page 65, published by Blaizot. Paris Text written by Ludovic Halévy, Etching created by Maurice Potin Watermarks BFK Rives and Blaizot Editeur, Full Margins as issued Sheet size: 9.75” x 12.75”, Plate Size: 6.25” x 8.25” Fine strong impression with rich tone 

Etchings from this suite are particularly important because many of the original monotypes from Edgar Degas have vanished. These etchings from this suite remain the only documentation of their existence! Edgar Degas created monotypes to illustrate La Famille Cardinal, Ludovic Halévy’s collection of short stories documenting the backstage life of Pauline and Virginie Cardinal at the Paris Opra. In 1938, the monotypes were finally published by Blaizot as etching illustrations. These etchings, hand-pulled by Maurice Potin, have been documented by leading Degas scholars Adhemar and Cachin, E. P. Janis and Jean Boggs. The edition is limited to only 350 copies. The monotypes were created by Degas in 1880, but these legendary etchings were not published until 1938.

Degas made the monotypes to illustrate Halévy’s book, La Famille Cardinal, a satire of social-climbing ballet dancers, controlling stage mothers and the backstage scene. Hoping to illustrate a new edition of the book, originally published in 1872, Degas created a collection of monotypes inspired by the story in the early 1880s. Since Halévy narrated the book in the first person, Degas included him in nine of the illustrations. Theodore Reff suggests that Halévy did not publish his friends monotypes because, “On the whole, Degas’ illustrations are more a recreation of the spirit and ambience than authentic illustrations”. Edgar Degas was the Impressionist artist known as the observer of modern Paris life.

SKU: M-DEGAS-121019-RF Artist: Tag:
Nicole Wolff
Gallery Director

Edgar Degas (19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917), born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. A superb draughtsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half his works depict dancers. These display his mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are considered to be among some of the finest in the history of art.

Early in his career, his ambition was to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life.