Color aquatint etching, 12 x 17 1/2 inches
Signed by Villon and Duchamp
Jacques Villon (Gaston Duchamp French 1875-1963) was the brother of artists Marcel Duchamp, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, as well as Suzanne Duchamp. After studying law he settled in Paris in 1894, where he worked in Cormon’s studio and earned his living as a draughtsman. During this period he contributed to the magazines Le Chat noir, Gil Blas, Lassiette au Beurre and Le Courrier franqais. In 1904 he became a founder member of the Salon d’Automne, in which he regularly exhibited. In 1912 he helped to organize the Section d’Or exhibition, and in 1913 took part in the International Exhibition of Modern Art (the Armory Show) in New York, at which he sold nine pictures. Between 1921 and 1930 he produced thirty-four prints for Architectures.
During his early period, when he worked primarily as a draughtsman and etcher, Villon was influenced by Steinlen and Toulouse-Lautrec. In 1906 he became more interested in painting, and during the next five years took his lead from Degas and the Fauves. Then, in 1911, he embraced Analytical Cubism, which satisfied his need for order and discipline. Subsequently, he tried to develop a new style of painting based on mathematical proportions corresponding to the golden section. Later, between 1919 and 1929, he painted abstracts, in which he sought to represent the essence of objects by means of signs and not properties. During this period he restricted his palette to greys and browns. In 1930 he began to use colors from the prismatic sequence of tones. After this abstract phase Villon reverted, in 1933, to natural forms and pure colors. Villon was a master printmaker, and created original works after all the great masters in his circle–Matisse, Modigliani, Van Googh, and his sister, Suzanne Duchamp as in the present example.