Jacques Villon was a member of an important artistic family which included his brothers Marcel Duchamp and Raymond Duchamp-Villon. His early training was under Eugene Delâtre, with whom he achieved fame as an illustrator. No other printmaker so clearly took a leap of faith from realism to modernism than Jacques Villon. The Belle Époque imagery of Comedie de Societé and Petit Manège, rue Caulaincourt sum up life in Paris in the early years of the 20th Century. His technical skill is evidenced by his extraordinary use of color inking. A few years later his style altered radically toward Cubism.
Villon belonged to a circle of cubist painters known as the Puteaux Group, which included Robert Delaunay, Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger and Jean Metzinger. The subjects of many of Villon's experiments in cubist printmaking include his sister Yvonne, his father and his friend Felix Barré (see lots 165, 166, and 169). His technical skills allowed him to produce virtuoso essays in the cubist style.