Jean Fautrier

Baby Mine

1947, published c.1960–4

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Jean Fautrier 1898–1964
Original title
Les Seins et le sexe de la femme
Etching and aquatint on paper
Image: 278 × 336 mm
Purchased 1986

Catalogue entry

Jean Fautrier 1897-1964

P77140 Baby-Mine 1947, pub. c.1960-4

Etching and aquatint 278 x 336 (10 15/16 x 13 1/4) on handmade Vélin d'Auvergne paper 396 x 582 (15 9/16 x 22 15/16); plate-mark 278 x 336 (10 15/16 x 13 1/4); watermark ‘Auvergne a la Main'; printed by Jacques David, Paris and published by Michel Couturier, Paris in an edition of 50
Inscribed ‘Fautrier' b.r. and ‘23/50' b.l. and ‘Baby Mine' on back t.l. in another hand
Purchased from Lutz Riester (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Lit: Rainer Michael Mason, Jean Fautrier: Les Estampes, Geneva 1986, p.111 no.232 I repr. Also repr: Edwin Engelberts, Jean Fautrier: Oeuvre gravé Oeuvre sculpté, Geneva 1969, no.1947/18

The first state of P77140 was published in Fautrier l'enragé, Paris 1949 as ‘Les seins et le sexe de la femme' (p.11). The title ‘Baby-Mine' first appeared in Engelberts (see entry for P77119 for further discussion of titles). If the title is a French expression it would mean, literally, ‘baby appearance' and is radically different from the original title which translates as ‘the female breasts and sex'. Indeed this image was one of a sequence published in Fautrier l'enragé concerned with the female body (see in particular Mason 1986, pp.110-1 nos. 230-2 repr.). The most closely related printed image to P77140 is ‘Sweet Baby' which, in its first state, was known as ‘Les seins et le sexe' 1949 (Mason 1986, p.111 no.232 repr.). The title of P77140 and ‘Sweet Baby' may, however, refer to the popular expression in which baby implies a female lover, hence ‘Baby-Mine' or ‘my baby'.

Of the female nudes which Fautrier painted after the Second World War Michel Ragon wrote that ‘the nudes of Fautrier are exaggeratedly nude because they are principally breasts and rolls of flesh, gigantic pairs of buttocks (Michel Ragon, Fautrier, Paris 1957, p.33). Such a description applies to P77140.

The title ‘Baby-Mine' was also used by Fautrier for a painting of 1956 (repr. Ragon 1957, p.43 in col.) in which the principal shape is more head-like than in the print, where the image is foetal and vulvar. The features of the face in the painting are described by markings reminiscent of the Cross of Lorraine suggesting a link with the ‘hostage' works.

P77140 is printed in pink, violet and grey from two plates.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.332-3

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