From: Jeff Ewing <ambjpe@…>
Date: Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:31 pm
Subject: RE: The Castaigne collection
Item #78624 French, 19th Century Charcoal drawing on gessoed cardboard in gilt-edged frame of unpolished pear wood. 9 cm x 14 cm
This small, dark charcoal drawing, in a slightly skewed high-angle perspective shows a shadowy large ballroom, or perhaps a stage-set of a ballroom (an impression reinforced by the odd, opera box-like perspective). Dozens of masked dancers appear to have been interrupted in mid-step. They turn, in a fashion that suggests both longing and apprehension, toward a tall white figure, which has apparently just entered from the right side of the picture.
On the back of the drawing, in lavender ink oxidized to a dark purple is the inscription, "Mon cher Jean, Bonne annee 1884 —Odile"
A small seal on the lower right-hand corner of the rear of the frame bears the coat of arms of the Des Essientes family.
(Editor's Note: There seems to be a reference here to this book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%80_rebours)