Dans les coulisses

Between 1878 and 1881, the artist and caricaturist Félicien Rops (1833-1898) produced two albums of drawings for the Parisian booklover Jules Noilly. These Cent légers croquis sans prétention pour réjouir les honnêtes gens (A hundred lighthearted sketches without pretension to delight honest people) are a veritable “human comedy” in which the artist treats, in a very personal manner, the theme of the female half-nude.

In the same vein as these albums, Rops undertook another series of drawings destined for the publication of an Album du Diable (Devil’s Album), in which Satan would be the hero of this “human comedy”. Envisaged as a follow-up to Cent légers croquis, Rops wanted to illustrate the story of his time through the nude and half-nude. The project did not materialize, but the drawings he had made, including Dans les coulisses (In the Wings), led him to mull over the theme and foreshadowed his satanic period dating from 1882 and later.

Here, Rops uses pastels in order to render the tones more subtle and the colours more vivid. He believed this technique was more appropriate for a project that had to surpass the Cent légers croquis.

When this drawing and high quality work came on the market in Versailles, the Léon Courtin-Marcelle Bouché Fund decided to purchase it. Today, it is entrusted to the Musée Félicien Rops, who hitherto did not have any of the drawings from the Album du diable, although they do have on show some twenty drawings made for the Cent légers croquis. The new work is an occasion for the general public to discover an additional aspect and theme in the work of Rops.

Website Musée Félicien Rops

Further information about the Léon Courtin-Marcelle Bouché Fund (in French)

Type: 
Drawing
Material / technique: 
Coloured pencil, pastels and watercolours on paper
Dimensions: 
26 x 16.5 cms
Type of acquisition: 
Léon Courtin-Marcelle Bouché Fund acquisition
Year of acquisition: 
2008
Depository institution: 
Musée Félicien Rops, Namur