Paul Elie Ranson (1861 - 1909)
lithograph in three colours on wove paper,
58.6 cm x 41.5 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
The French artist Paul Ranson borrowed the subject of this print from Japanese woodcuts. The graceful forms, with arabesques and flower patterns, are also drawn from that source. There is no question of depth or perspective: the tiger, outlined in black, is as flat as a cardboard cut-out. This was entirely intentional on Ranson’s part, and was intended to produce a decorative and hence modern image.
At first sight, the motif looks like it was printed on yellow paper. This is not the case, however: the cream-coloured margin shows that the yellow ground is itself printed. The background colour of Ranson’s print was no doubt inspired by the yellow paper used for Paul Gauguin’s Volpini print series.
Tigre in the jungle was published as part of L’Estampe originale – an album of ninety-five prints that was published in nine parts. Aimed at a growing group of contemporary print collectors, in principle, the album was limited to original prints – lithographs, etchings and woodcuts that were both designed and printed by the artists themselves. The contributing printmakers were young and old, emerging and established, and so the prints offers a marvellous survey of artistic trends at the end of the nineteenth century. The Van Gogh Museum has a complete edition.