163. Marcel Broodthaers

Marcel Broodthaers
Chère Petite Soeur (Dear Little Sister) (1972)
Signed with initials, dated 2-5-72 and numbered Ex. 20 20/100 lower right
Titled and dated 27-8-1901 (above and below the image)
Published by Galerie Michael Werner
Offset lithograph, 63 x 44 cm
Collection Geertjan Visser (1931-2010), Retie, thence by descent
– Galerie Jos Jamar, Marcel Broodthaers: Het Volledig Grafisch Werk en de Boeken, Knokke-Duinbergen 1989, p. 30, no. 10 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 31)
– N. Nobis, W. Meyer, Marcel Broodthaers: Katalog der Editionen Graphik und Bücher, Ostfildern-Ruit, 1996, p. 30, no. 10 (another from the edition illustrated, p. 31)
Geertjan Visser (1931-2010) was, together with his brother Martin (1922-2009), one of the main and most influential collectors of his generation in the Netherlands. Today, the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo houses over 400 works from their impressive collection, including works by artists like Lucio Fontana, Anselm Kiefer, and Bruce Nauman. The renowned ‘Collection Visser’ also includes art by the third brother, the successful sculptor Carel Visser (1928-2015).

“Dear Little Sister is based on a used vintage postcard and the text that was written on it by its sender in 1901, which Broodthaers found. The card’s illustration depicts an ocean liner sailing into port during a storm, with the lighthouse visible in the background to the right of the image. The message on the card, written on the front under the image, gives the work its title: ‘Dear little sister, this is to give you an idea of the sea during the storm which we had last night. Will give you details of this, best wishes and see you soon. Marie.’ (Chère petite soeur, celle-ci pour te donner une idée de la mer pendant la tempête que nous avons eue hier. Donnerai détail à ce sujet, bonne amitié et à bientôt. Marie.)

Broodthaers reproduced the image of the postcard in negative, so that the ship has become a ghostly white shape that stands out against the dark background. The words too, which would originally have been handwritten in dark ink on a light-coloured border, have become white text on a black ground. In 1972, Broodthaers made a four-minute film Dear Little Sister (The Storm) in which he used this same combination of image and text. In the film, images of the front of the postcard were interspersed with shots of the back, upon which the address, stamp and postmark were visible. The text was duplicated, phrase by phrase, in the form of subtitles in white typeface on a black frame, like that surrounding the original postcard. That the film and the printed version of Dear Little Sister are so immediately related is typical of Broodthaers’s working practice; though he refused the title of filmmaker, his films played an essential role in his artistic production and often relate directly to his works in other media.

The first showing of the film of Dear Little Sister was held at the Galerie Michael Werner in Cologne in June 1972, and for the occasion a negative print of the postcard image was used as an invitation card. On the reverse of this version of the postcard, Broodthaers added his own message in the form of his monogram, ‘M.B.’, repeated numerous times underneath the printed details of the gallery and exhibition dates. To mark the exhibition, the gallery published the printed version of Dear Little Sister as a limited edition offset lithograph.[…]”
– Lucy Bradnock (2004) for Tate Gallery (www.tate.org.uk)
* Condition report available upon request

€ 2.000 - 4.000
€ 2.000