Original Etching, 1952, On Velin Reeves wove paper, signed in the plate (not by hand)
Reference: Marc Chagall “Les Livres Illustres” by Patrick Cramer : Number 22 ;Marc Chagall : 100 Acquaforti per le favioli di la Fontaine - Published by Toninelli Arte Moderna, Milano - reference 92
Size: 15 1/2” x 12” (Plate size)
Historical Note: This was part of an album entitled “Fables de La Fontaine” which consisted of a 100 etchings. The works illustrated are based on the work by Jean De La Fontaine who was a French poet who lived in the 17th century. There were 243 fables in total based on the works by Aesop and are stories which illustrate themes of morality and good sense. These were created between 1927 and 1930 but not published until 1952. When they were made they were pioneered by Chagall’s friend Ambroise Vollard with whom he published Gogols “Dead Souls”. The Great art dealer, however, died before they were published and it was left to Teriade who eventually worked with the artist to publish these in 1952
Note on the Fable: This was a fable inspired by Abstemius “The shepherd exhorting his flock against the wolf” . It relates to a shepherd who persuades his animals to fight a predator rather then doing so himself. Doubtless is was a parody of the politics of the era when the French king, Henry II, rather then face his enemies in battle spent his time talking to politicians at home.
Edition: The editioning of this series is complex:40 copies numbered from 1 to 40 with the 100 etchings handpainted by the artist on Rives wove and two suites of the 100 etchings, one on Japon Nacre, the other on Montval.45 copies numbered from 41 to 85 with the 100 etchings handpainted by the artist on Rives wove and a suite of the etchings on Montval15 hors commerce copies reserved for the collaborators and numbered from I to XV, with the 100 etchings on Rives wove.
Published by: Teriade, Paris, 1952
Printed by: Maurice Potin, Paris, France