Unstable Balance


Equilibre Instable (original French title)
Color mezzotint and drypoint printed on wove paper. 
One of 6 artist's proofs in the first state, aside from the edition of 20 in that state. As of yet not worked any further. 
Signed, titled, dated and annotated "1e etat" in pencil.

This rhinoceros beetle has made a few appearances in Michel Estèbe’s work.  As is generally the case in his oeuvre, certain features are exaggerated for dramatic effect, while others are bejeweled, so to speak, to add a layer of whimsy.  This rendering is no exception.  Stickers are attached to its panzer; as are yellow lights, perhaps to enhance the insect’s visibility.  A small red cross might be a suggestion that the scarab is working as an ambulance.  And a small umbrella shield’s the head of the animal: from sunshine, rain, leaves falling off the trees?  That part is rather unclear.
What always makes Estèbe’s compositions attractive, beyond their humor, is the saturation of colors.  In Equilibre Instable the cherries, the black wall in the bottom half of the composition, and the striped umbrella top on which the beetle balances, are all rendered in vibrant and deep hues.  The eye truly feasts on these color saturations.  And the closer you put your nose on it, the more obvious these qualities become.

15 5/8 x 19 1/2 inches