April 19, 2004
We would like to present to you this time an extremely rare print, which has never been published. You will see two versions of the same print, both are unique.
The first one is part of the Rosenwald Collection at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Previous owners were H. Stinnes and most likely also Dreyfus. The text reads : “Bien embarassé” and the plate carries the number 82 from the Actualités series. Note the handwritten “refusé” by the censor in the upper left hand corner. (see picture below)
The second version of this plate is part of a private collection in Germany. The previous owners were Malherbe and later Gerstenberg. This unique plate shows quite a different text : “- A droite ou à gauche ?…. ” Again we can see in the upper margin above the image the note from the censor, flatly refusing publication, with a simple “Non” and the date of February 10, 1866. (see picture below)
Apparently, the printer DESTOUCHES had anticipated approval for this print by signing and dating it Paris – February 9, 1866. He must have been caught by surprise the following day by the censor’s refusal, which prompted him to add his own “Non” to his previous approval (good for printing).
It is difficult to say, which of the two prints came first. Moreover it seems that there still exist two additional states: one with the text “Bien embarassé” but without the plate number and the name of the series; another one with the text “Bien ambarassé”. This would mean that a total of 4 states of this print may exist of which none has ever been published.