Support: Wove paper taped to secondary support
Sheet: 22.9 x 33.5 cm (9 x 13 3/16 in.); Image: 20.4 x 31.9 cm (8 1/16 x 12 9/16 in.); Secondary Support: 37.6 x 58.1 cm (14 13/16 x 22 7/8 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1999.323
Catalogue raisonné: Vallotton and Georg 110; Stein and Karsham 87
Edition: 100 for L'Estampe Originale
Inspired by the flat space, tipped perspective, and use of pattern in Japanese color woodcuts, Vallotton exploited the contrast of rich black ink and the white of the paper for a dynamic image of a mass of figures surging forward as the police break up a political demonstration. Vallatton frequently focused on social issues, especially during the 1890s when street riots were common in Paris. The blankness of the lower-right corner of the print—fully one-third of its surface area—is a bold and original concept. As a terrified crowd rushes away from the authorities, Vallotton mitigated criticism of police violence with comic touches: the man who pauses to try to grab his top hat or the corpulent waddle of the figure with an umbrella. Many would imitate his woodcut style, but few could approach the sophistication of his artistic vision.
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