Provenance: a private Parisian
A later (and quite faithful) lithographic version of
(see Janot, Wildenstein, and Bataille, Manet, 1932, n° 73) ,
which he also etched in 1862 (cf. Guérin 27), Le Gamin
is thus one of Manet's favorite and most touching subjects: it furthermore
allowed him to demonstrate his versatility in using a fine point and
scraper to highlight and model the boy's features, and graphically
and tonal values.
Given this hiatus of 12
years, the lithograph has proved hard to date, especially as it is
known that (aside from two sheet music covers, published in 1863 and
1866) Manet's first "real" lithographs, Le Rendez-Vous des Chats and L'Execution de Maximilien) were
undertaken in 1868. Published at the same time as Le Gamin in 1874, La Guerre Civile is dated
1871-1873. The question is still open.
Le Gamin is however a rather rare lithograph, if one may only judge by the small number of impressions seen on auction in recent years. Fisher (1985, 105) notes that although this lithograph and La Guerre Civile (published at the same time in 1874) were nominally "printed in an edition of one hundred, ... their rarity suggests a smaller edition." It was indeed commonplace in the 19th century to print at first only a fraction of the print run that had been announced, with a complementary run following if the work sold well.