Literature: J. De Geest (ed.), Armand Rassenfosse, Racine, Brussels, 2005, p. 219 (ill.)
Armand Rassenfosse (born in Liège in 1862) was a Belgian symbolist painter, draughtsman and graphic designer. At age 25, on a trip to Paris, he went to see his idol, his compatriot Félicien Rops, who was already a well-known artist at the time. The two men got along very well and would stay lifelong friends, sometimes collaborating on artistic projects.
Rassenfosse became very much influenced by Rops’ work, quit his family business and became a full-time artist. His big break came when he was asked by the Parisian publisher Eugène Rodrigues to illustrate Charles Baudelaires’ Les Fleurs du Mal. It is still considered one of the highlights in the field of book illustration today.
Many exhibitions and commissions followed and Rassenfosse became an internationally recognized artist, who was asked for many museum committees and juries. It is perhaps in this light that the present drawing, which can be dated to ca. 1918, must be seen. Maybe the artist was somewhat fed up with the way things were seen (or not seen) by his fellow art critics? Interestingly, on the back of the drawing is another, smaller sketch of the same subject, which sheds some light on the creative process of its author.
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