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‘Crabs , Crabs’

“ A Painting from which the Salty Winds of the Sea blow ”

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Shrimps! The young crab-seller woman calling out her wares. Stipple printed in gray by Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen (1765 Göttingen 1840). Inscribed: W. Hogarth pinx. / Riepenhausen sc. 9⅞ × 7⅝ in (25.1 × 19.4 cm).

One of the rarer plates after Hogarth. – On lightly toned minor paper. Box pleat lower right in image and wide white margin.

William Hogarth, Shrimps!

“ This picture (represents) a young English country girl who comes to town with crabs to sell them by means of the measure lying on top of the woven basket – which she balances gracefully on her head despite of its wheel-size – , in doing so she cries ‘crabs, crabs’. ”

Hogarth worked this for him quite unusual picture about 1745 though not publishing it himself as engraving. This only happened in 1782 by Bartolozzi whose work served as model for Riepenhausen who followed it not just in technique and grey print, but – contrary to his usual habit – also in the side-inverted depiction.

Hogarth’s widow by the way used to explain this lively painting of the “Market Wench” – in her possession till 1790 – to visitors as follows:

“ They say he could not paint flesh .
There’s flesh and blood for you; — them !”

And thus generations later Bernd Curt Kreplin judged in Thieme-Becker, citing Richard Muther:

“ The much adored ‘Crab Girl’ …

is an impressionist sketch painted in fluent, brown, grey, and pink hues, where from the mysterious context suddenly a face of shining freshness and laughing beauty emerges;

a painting from which the salty winds of the sea blow — ‘so strange
that only the final works of Frans Hals offer a parallel’ … ”

See otherwise the color reproduction of the original in the Hogarth catalog of the Tate Gallery of 1971-72 (ill. p. 51). – Riepenhausen’s works after Hogarth (“very valuable”) count to his main work.

Offer no. 11,126 | EUR 125. (c. US$ 151.) + shipping