By Suzanne Valadon
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Reference: Petrides E28
Medium: soft ground, monotype
Edition size: very scarce
Image size: 16 x 20 cm
Sheet size: 24,8 x 29,5 cm
Price: 8500 (incl. taxes)
Soft ground etching, 160 x 200 mm. Petrides E28.
Impression of the first edition, before the plate was cut down, exceptionally printed with monotype colouring in brown and ginger. This impression is reproduced in the catalogue raisonné by Petrides, p. 360, fig. E28.
A superb impression with monotype on thick wove paper, signed in pencil in the lower margin. On the back, a trace of pigments and two large numbers with, underneath, the initials S.V. Sheet: 248 x 295 mm.
A very tiny scratch, maybe due to a loss of pigment; light stain in the margins. Generally in excellent condition.
The impressions from the first edition are not numbered. In 1929, 95 impressions were printed on the copperplate cut down in its height (145 x 200 mm) for thedeluxe edition of the second issue of the journal Vers et Proses (1929).
An impression is said to be 'monotype' when it is printed from an unetched copperplate on which the artist painted directly, so that it is impossible to print a second identical impression. Our impression is 'printed with monotype' because Valadon painted the colours directly onto the etched copperplate for Ketty s’étirant: as a result, this impression is unique.
Suzanne Valadon learned soft ground etching with Degas around 1895. She etched several plates, including Louise nue sur le canapé [Louise Naked on the Sofa] (1895), Catherine nue se coiffant [Catherine, Naked, Combing Her Hair] (1895), Nue sur un divan [Nude on a Sofa] (1896). Ketty s’étirant was one of the first soft ground etchings she made when she started using etching and drypoint again in 1904.
Valadon's drawings and etchings very often depict naked young women washing or combing their hair or lying in an armchair or on a bed. In most cases, the model is pictured full length, sometimes with a second character in the picture, a grandmother taking care of toiletries. Ketty stretching is one of her rare etchings showing the model's body from much closer. Whereas most of the time a nude drawing is meant to enhance and emphasise the body's beauty, here the composition celebrates the satisfaction and the sheer joy in the face and the body of the young woman, her dreamy gaze, her half-open mouth, her stretched white arms, her flowing hair and the generous curves of her belly and breasts.
Suzanne Valadon printed an impression with monotype colouring of severalsoft ground etchings: Louise nue sur le canapé [Louise Naked on the Sofa] (1895), Catherine nue se coiffant [Catherine, Naked, Combing Her Hair] (1895), Nue sur un divan [Nude on a Sofa] (1896), Adèle préparant le tub et Ketty aux bras levés [Adèle Getting The Bathtub Ready and Ketty With Her Arms Raised] (1905), Catherine s’épongeant [Catherine Drying Herself] (1908). Notwithstanding its small size, due to its composition and its pictorial matter, this impression printed with monotype colouring of Ketty Stretching makes one think of a monochrome painting: the three-quarter shot and the view from above, diagonally, on the naked body of the woman lying on her back with one arm to the side and the other arm bent, reaching up above her head, make us think to the tall reclining nudes that Modigliani will paint a dozen years later, like Nu couché les bras ouverts (Nude, Lying Down With Open Arms, 1917). Modigliani was indeed a friend of Valadon and Utrillo, whom he encouraged.