George Braque (1882 - 1963)
Title: Thalassa II
Medium: Original etching in colours, 1959, on Auvergne paper, with full margins signed by the artist in pencil.
Size: Image10.2 x 30.5 cm (4 x 12 in.); Sheet 36.6 x 47.1 cm (14 3/8 x 18 1/2 in.)
Note: Mourlot dates this work to 1960 but Vallier states that it is most certainly from 1958 as it was published in Engelberts catalogue which appeared in that year.
The artist was very interested in Greek mythology and much of his work was dedicated to that theme. Thalassa was the primeval spirit of the sea. Two rather similar fables are recorded by Babrius. In one, numbered 168 in the Perry Index, a farmer witnesses a shipwreck and reproaches the sea for being “an enemy of mankind”. Assuming the form of a woman, she answers by blaming the winds for her turbulence. Otherwise “I am gentler than that dry land of yours.”. In the other, a survivor from a shipwreck accuses the sea of treachery and receives the same excuse. But for the winds, “by nature I am as calm and safe as the land.” Braque seems to personify this sport with a turtle-like figure.
References: Dora Vallier: The Complete Graphic, Catalogue Raisonne Number 140
Edition: 57/60 ; There were also some artists proofs
Published by : Galerie,Maeght, Paris
Printed by: Crommelynck & Dutrou, Paris
Public Collections: Bibliothèque Nationals - this has a hand written inscription by Braque.
Notes: Braque made two etchings of this title this being a variation of the other one which was in black and white.