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Prins' oeuvre and career was closely related to that of the painter Edouard Manet (1832-1883). His sister introduced him to Suzanne Leenhof, Manet's wife, in 1861. Eight years later he married Fanny Claus, one of Manet's models, who figures on the far right of Manet's painting Le Balcon (1869; Musée d'Orsay, Paris).
The two artists were close friends and Manet both praised and encouraged Prins' work. Shortly after Manet had made his first pastel in 1862, Prins produced his first drawing in that medium. He was a particularly gifted pastellist producing works of great atmospheric and subtle qualities. The majority of his pastels are in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris.
The two following lots are exquisite examples of his pastel work. His great talent as a pastellist was already recognised by his contemporaries. On the occasion of the artist first solo exhibition, the critic Zacharie Astruc highlighted Prins' extraordinary handling of the medium: 'Notre ami s'improvise du soir au matin pastelliste, se jette dans le tendre, met sa rude main sur de frêles outils, organise son matériel d'une façon primitive et se lance vers l'inconnu avec une ardeur farouche qui est expressément son caractère. Or, il se trouve que le plus délicat procédé lui va comme un gant'.
(l. Jampoller, Catalogue général de l'oeuvre de Pierre Prins 1838-1913, Paris, 1993, p. 18).
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