Hop-Frog's Revenge (La Vengeance de Hop-Frog) - JAMES ENSOR
Etching, 1898, Taevernier 112 (ii/II), edition unknown. 14 x 9 3/4 in. Signed and dated in the plate. Signed and dated in pencil, lower right. Titled in pencil, lower left, and with an extensive pencil dedication below at left. This is a superb impression printed on cream-colored Japanese paper. The margins are wide and possibly full. The condition is fine apart from a couple of minor spots in the upper left corner margin well away from the image. This large and important work relates to a short story by Edgar Allan Poe in which the dwarf, Hop-Frog, is the king's jester and takes his revenge on the king and his ministers for a wrong done to his friend, Tripetta. The print is dedicated in pencil, "Pour Madame Steyns, pour ses yeux d'agrément, ses pommettes roses et d'api, et son esprit charmant et de Gand, J. Ensor."
(For Miss Steyns, for her pleasant eyes, her pink cheekbones and flush/crisp, and her charming spirit and of Ghent.) "d'api" refers to "pomme d'api" and it's a play on the word "pommettes". It's a reference to a kind of apple that's crisp and flush. As for the rhyme of "charmant" and "Gand," it's probably meant to be cute, as in: she's got charming spirit and she is also from Ghent.
The idea here is this is meant to a clever, flirtatious rhyme; not 100% coherent. This dedication is to Elsa Steyns but we have not yet turned up any information about her.
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