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Georges Lemmen

(1865 – 1916, Bruxelles)

Deux Femmes dans un Interieur. Etching and drypoint printed in brown ink on cream-coloured laid paper. 19.8 x 29.7 cm. Monogrammed in the plate. 1905. Cardon 40. 

Strongly influenced by the pointillism of Georges Seurat, the painter, etcher and designer Georges Lemmen was considered to be one of the foremost representatives of the Neo-impressionist school in Belgium. In November 1888 he was admitted to membership of the progressive Brussels artists’ association known as Les Vingt together with Henry van de Velde and August Rodin. In the years 1889–1892 Lemmen contributed to the exhibitions of the Parisian Salon des Indépendants and later belonged to the Libre Esthétique group in Brussels. Lemmen was a versatile artist and ranks among the most remarkable and individual talents of the Belgian avant-garde in those years. He painted portraits, intimate, delicately coloured interiors, landscapes and still lifes. At the same time he was very productive in the field of arts and crafts, as is documented by numerous book and poster designs, carpet patterns and mosaics. Lemmen was also a gifted and remarkably sensitive printmaker, who left behind a small but signifi cant oeuvre of etchings and lithographs. His prints were nearly always published in very limited editions, and some are even unique. Only a few works have been signed by hand, which may be attributable to Lemmen’s modest disposition; he worked in seclusion and never enjoyed great public recognition in his lifetime.

The present etching Deux Femmes dans un Interieur reproduces a painting with the same title from the year 1904 and is a characteristic example of the intimate and spiritual nature of the artist’s printed work. The treatment of the interior was probably inspired by comparable works by Vuillard. Lemmen’s etching needle covers the whole surface of the plate with a wide variety of different graphic patterns, reducing the sense of space in favour of a decorative flatness. But while Vuillard is much more radical in the pursuit of this endeavour, carrying it almost to the point of abstraction, in Lemmen’s work both the composition and the individual forms are still well-defined and clearly structured. Lemmen refrains from taking this final step and remains more faithful to visible reality. His love of detail and the clarity of the line give the work a slight genre-like quality, which may be explained by a century old tradition of realism in Belgian and Dutch art.

A very fine, differentiated impression printed with tone, with full margins. Slight aging, otherwise excellently preserved. Cardon records only few impressions of this print.

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