Nocturne or Le Flirt

Manuel Robbe
Nocturne or Le Flirt

An original hand-signed Manuel Robbe Aquatint print.


Original aquatint with etching and roulette printed in colors on cream wove paper.

Hand signed in black crayon lower left Manuel Robbe.

A beatifully printed impression of the definitive state From the edition of approximately 100.

Catalog: Weisberg 35; Perussaux 62

13 5/8 x 17 5/8 inches

Sheet Size: 19 13/16 x 26 inches

Nocturne, or Le Flirt is probably the most famous subject which Robbe drew in color aquatint. It embodies all the qualities which make his prints such appealing works of art – an elegant slightly sensual theme, masterly composition and a wonderful quality of softly modulated and blended color.

Robbe was without doubt one of the greatest exponents of the art of the color aquatint around the turn-of-the-century. He used the á la poupée method of inking the plate in which the inks are effectively painted onto the plate for each impression allowing them to blend and flow into each other. This creates a special quality of softly modulated and merging color so that the light and the tone can vary from gleaming highlights of pure color to soft shadows. As the ink colors are blended as they are applied to the plate so the effects vary from impression to impression. This example, which is a completed proof but before the issued edition, has very finely balanced tones.

Robbe first began to exhibit in the early 1890’s achieving medals at the Salons from the middle of the decade. From the first his work also received critical acclamation and by the late 1980’s his reputation was very widespread and he was sponsored by Edmond Sagot, one of the leading dealers of the period. Above all it was the combination of his eye for compositions which reflected the spirit of the era and his inspired handling of color aquatint as a medium which were and have remained the vital elements of his art.