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Two Postcards c1898-1903 by French Belle Epoque Artist Henri Boutet
Henri Boutet may have been known as "le petit Meitre au corset" (the little Master of the corset) because of all his drawings of half-dressed women, but here we have the exception to his portfolio: a little girl in a huge white bonnet and a Parisian at church. As for the little girl, I can't help but wonder if there isn't a story behind who she was. Perhaps his daughter Denise? This postcard was mailed from Lille, France, to Belgium on March 28, 1900. Superb franking verso. The card is not creased but there is an ink smudge across the bottom of the girl's pale blue dress. This is integral to the printing. Boutet is known for the methods used to produce his prints (etching, drypoint and engraving) which gave his work a distinctive style. Many of them are what I call the crayon look, as if you are looking over the artist's shoulder as he works in his journal sketching. The card has a soft, muted style. Just below his signature one can faintly make out "102." No publisher listed. I'm not positive but from what I've researched, Boutet was his own publisher. The card of the lady in church: note his signature and date: that's 1897. This postcard has a stamp verso but was never written on or postally sent. The undivided back dates it to circa 1898 to 1903. Bottom right corner tip is creased. I sense despair in this woman, seeking comfort and direction, hoping for an answer to her prayer. Both cards are typical antique postcard size, about 3.5 by 5.5 inches.
Please note: For color accuracy, look at the direct scans. I also include photos taken under different light to highlight all the details (nothing to hide). My goal is that when you have the postcards in hand your only surprise will be how much better they look than onscreen!
Boutet (1851 Sainte-Hermine, Vendée - 9 June 1919 Paris) was a French Belle Époque artist whose work focused on the genre "La Parisienne". He depicted women ranging from ordinary shop assistants to elegant ladies, managing to portray their common qualities of coquettishness and femininity. In 1902 he published "Les Modes Feminines du XIXe Siecle" which met with instant acclaim. His 100 etchings showed the development of fashion for each year from 1801 to 1900. You can read more about Boutet at the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York and on Wikipedia.
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