Un cavalier nègre , from a series of
11 riders

Etching, 1648. De Vesme/Massar 270, second state with inscriptions (the first state very rare). With a light signature and date within the circular border not mentioned by De Vesme/Massar, and with traces of the lavis they cite for the earliest impressions.
Provenance: Unidentified blue mark with initials KG?

A superb impression with all the fine lines richly printed, with full square margins and more beyond laterally. Two inked numerals in the margin corners, a very pale grey mark near the right-hand horizon, otherwise in very good condition. 183 x 189mm.


This is the first of three African cavaliers in the series otherwise composed of Polish and Hungarian riders. Various Turkish figures and cavalry exercises may be seen in the background. The political upheavals in France during Della Bella’s sojourn there in the 1640’s, with the end of the Thirty Years’ War being succeeded by the civil uprisings of La Fronde, made military subjects a natural source for many of his prints. His riders took a macabre turn around 1648 when he twice represented Death himself on horseback.