Satan sement l'ivraie (premier planche). (Satan Sowing Tares). 1906. Heliogravure printed in colors by Albert-Emmanuel Bertrand (1864-1912) after Rops, Exsteens 864. Image: 10 1/8 x 7; Plate: 12 x 8 1/8; sheet: 17 x 12 3/4. Edition 100. Series: Les Sataniques. An atmospheric, tonal impression printed on simili-japon paper. Red seal of the publisher, Gustave Pellet, lower right; remarque, lower right; both are faded. Unsigned. $4,000.
Albert Bertrand made two heliogravures after Satan sement l'ivraie, Exsteens 864 and Exsteens 859 (See Rouir pages 710 and 711). He was a French artist who studied under Isidore-Alexandre-Augustin Pils (1815-1875). Brtrand made his debut at the Salon in 1880.
The theme reimagines a Biblical parable of a farmer sowing seeds in a field. Rops shows Satan scattering his semen, in the form of fully-formed babies, over Paris, one foot on Notre Dame. This is one of ops' most dramatic images.
Rops was born in Belgium. He settled in Paris in 1874, welcomed by Puvis de Chavannes and Gustave Moreau. He worked closely with Baudelaire. Rops was fascinated by the fantastic and the supernatural, and his themes are frequently Symbolist in kind. The devil, skeletons, the prostitute, and death are the Baudelairian accessories of his art. Huysmans stated that Rops "celebrated that spiritualism of Luxury that is Satanism, and painted, in pages that cannot be perfected, the supernaturalism of perversity, the otherworld of Evil."
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