Friday, 20 July 2018

A pair of William Unger’s self-portrait etchings, 1880/93


William Unger (aka Wilhelm Unger) (1837–1932)

Left image:
“Self-Portrait”, 1880, illustration to Philip Gilbert Hamerton’s (1834–1894) “Etching and Etchers” (1880 edition).
Etching on cream laid paper with margins (as published).
Size: (sheet) 29.2 x 21.4 cm; (plate) 20.4 x 12.7 cm
Condition: faultless impression with generous margins in near pristine condition (with an intrinsic—“naturally occurring”—thin spot in the laid paper towards the lower left centre).
The British Museum offers a description of this print:

Right image:
“Artist smoking the etching plate” (descriptive title only), c1892–94, in-text illustration to “Die vervielfältigende Kunst der Gegenwart” (volume 3?), trimmed without the text line: “Original-Radirung von W Unger.”
Etching with aquatint and roulette on wove paper trimmed within the platemark and backed on a support sheet.
Size: (re-margined support sheet) 29.8 x 24.5 cm; (sheet) 11.6 x 7.9 cm
Condition: crisp impression trimmed within the platemark and remargined with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this pair of original etchings by William Unger for AU$200 (currently US$147.53/EUR126.49/GBP113.10 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this pair of self-portrait etchings by Unger, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

These prints are reserved pending confirmation about their purchase











For those wondering about the portrayed technique of the artist adding a layer of soot to his etching plate so that he—I believe that this is a self-portrait of William Unger—will be able to see the gleam of copper through blackened etching ground when it is inscribed, I have extracted the following instructions by George T Plowman (1914) from his amazingly clear treatise, “Etching and Other Graphic Arts” (New York, John Lane Company):

“To smoke the plate use a bundle of twisted wax tapers. Let the plate get cold before smoking on account of the danger of burning the ground. In smoking, hold the plate face downward by the hand-vise high above the head Pass quickly backward and forward the lighted tapers. Be careful to smoke the edges. The centre will get enough smoke in covering the edges. Be very careful not to burn the ground either by stopping too long in one place or getting the taper too near the plate. The flame, but not the wick, should touch the ground. A little practise will enable the beginner to get a beautiful, dull back surface, like polished ebony, all over the plate. If you find any parts that are not smooth and are grey and shiny, the ground has been burned, and you must wash it all off with turpentine and begin again, since burned ground will not resist the acid.” (Plowman, pp. 89–90).







Thursday, 19 July 2018

Jules Dupré’s lithograph, “Bank of the Somme (Picardy)”, 1836


Jules Dupré (1811–1889)

“Bank of the Somme (Picardy)” (aka “Bords de la Somme [Picardie]”), 1836, published in “L’Artiste” in Paris (1836, series 1, vol. XII, p. 120), printed by Benard et Frey.

Lithograph on wove paper, signed with the artist’s initials on the plate, trimmed with small margins around the image borderline and retaining the lettered title and publication details, backed on a support sheet.
Size: (support sheet) 27.7 x 34.3 cm; (sheet) 17 x 23.5 cm; (image borderline) 13.7 x 21.3 cm
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (lower left corner) “J.D”
Lettered on plate above the image borderline: (centre) “L’ARTISTE”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Jules Dupré”; (centre) “Bords de la Somme, / (Picardie)”; (right) “Lith. de Benard et Frey.”
State i (of ii) before the change of the publication to, “Souvenirs d’artistes”, printed above the image borderline at left, and the addition of, “Jules Dupré del., et lith., Imp. Bertauts, Paris.", below the borderline at right.

Melot 1981 Du 6.1 (Michel Melot 1981, “Graphic Art of the Pre-Impressionists”, New York, Abrams, p. 285); Delteil 1906 no. 6, State i/ii (Loys Delteil 1906–1926, “Le peintre-graveur illustre.” 31 vols. Paris); Hédiard 1903 6 (Germain Hédiard n.d. “Les Maȉtres de la Lithographie”).; Aubrun 1974 7 (Marie-Madeleine Aubrun 1974, “Jules Dupré, 1811–1889, catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, dessiné et grave”, Paris, L Laget)

An excellent description of this print is offered by “Art of the Print”:
See the brief description of this print at the National Gallery of Art, Washington: https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.58109.html

Condition: faultless impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing). The sheet is trimmed with small margins around the text and image borderline and is backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this first state, rare lithograph—mindful that Dupre executed only ten litho plates in total—for AU$169 (currently US$124.41/EUR107.15/GBP95.62 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this masterpiece of 19th century romanticism—a poetic vision of landscape with clear links to Constable—please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print is reserved pending confirmation of its purchase


When I look at this deeply poetic landscape by Dupré, I am reminded of Constable’s images of landscape that are full of light and air. Certainly, Dupré’s trees have room for the birds to fly through like Constable’s trees, but I also see the way that light seems to flicker in the foliage of Dupré’s trees in a similar way to Constable’s touches of white designed to replicate the glistening effect of water droplets on leaves.

There are, of course, significant differences of mindset separating Dupré’s and Constable’s visions of landscape. Dupré’s landscapes were more mindscapes—concoctions evolved from thinking and conceptualised experiences. By contrast, Constable’s landscapes were rooted in sensory personal experiences of working outdoors with an interest in keeping the spirit of the experienced moment alive.







Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Harmen Jansz. Muller’s engraving, “Judah gives Tamar his Signet Ring”, c1566


Harmen Jansz. Muller (1540–1617)

“Judah gives Tamar his Signet Ring” (aka “Judah Giving Tamar the Pledge”), 1564–68, after a drawing by Maarten van Heemskerck (aka Maarten van Veen; Martin Heemskerk) (1498–1574), plate 1 from the series of 4 engravings, “History of Judah and Tamar”, published by Claes Jansz. Visscher (II) (1586–1652) in Amsterdam (1643–46).

Regarding the publication of this print, the Rijksmuseum offers the following insight:
(transl.) “Print possibly used in: Piscator, Nicolaus Johannes. Theatrum biblicum hoc est Historiæ sacræ Veteris and Novi Testamenti tabulis æneis expressæ. Amsterdam: Claes Jansz. Visscher, 1643. Or in: Schabaelje, Jan Philipsz. The big fig-bibel. That is an image and vivid display, of all the foremost histories of the gantscher Heyliger Schrift, in beautiful copere figueren (...) enriched with learning about the selve figuring. Alkmaar: Simon Cornelisz Brekegeest, Amsterdam: Jan Philipsz. Schabaelje, 1646.” (RP-P-1904-3343)

Engraving on fine laid paper watermark (“Arms of Amsterdam”?) and faded handwritten notes in brown ink by an old hand in lower margin, backed with a support sheet.
Numbered on plate at upper left: "1"
Inscribed on plate within and along the lower image borderline; (right of centre right) “1”; (right corner) “Meemskerck In. / [interlaced monogram of Harmen Jansz. Muller] HMVL fe, [interlaced monogram of Claes Jansz. Visscher] CJVißcher excu”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: “IVDAS ET THAMAR COEVNT PROMITTITVR HOEDVS ANNVLVS, ARMILLÆ, ATQVE PEDVM PRO PIGNORE DANTVR. / Genesis 38.15.”
Size: (unevenly trimmed sheet) 29 x 32.5 cm; (plate) 21 x 25 cm; (image borderline) 19.7 x 26.2 cm
State iv (of iv) with the addition of the plate number repeated at the upper left corner (see the Rijksmuseum for state iii (RP-P-1904-3343)

New Hollstein Dutch 5-4 (4) (Harmen Jansz. Muller); New Hollstein Dutch 39-4 (4) (Maarten van Heemskerck) (FWH Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts ca. 1450-1700”, Amsterdam)

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print (state iii):
(transl.) “Under a tree the veiled Tamar is sitting with her father in law Judah, who does not recognize her and thinks she is a prostitute. He gives her his signet ring and staff as collateral for the goat with which he will pay her. On the right in the background the sheep and shepherds of Judah and on the left a city. At the bottom of the margin a verse in Latin.”
See also the description of this print (state i) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/632498

Condition: crisp impression with no signs of wear to the plate and the sheet has no foxing or significant stains within the image area, but there is a tear at the lower edge that is not perfectly closed and the margin area shows signs of use (i.e. minor marks/stains). The sheet is backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper to address the tear. There are (antique and faded) brown ink handwritten notes by a past collector in the lower margin (recto).

I am selling this exceedingly rare print executed by the father of Jan Harmensz. Muller for AU$233 (currently US$171.49/EUR147.51/GBP131.57 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this fascinating scene of a father-in-law mistaking his daughter-in-law for a prostitute, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


When I was examining this engraving the thought occurred to me: how would I illustrate a scene where a father-in-law mistakes his daughter-in-law for a prostitute and proceeds to engage her services by giving the ravishing daughter-in-law his signet ring—a ring that would fall off most chap’s finger it is so large!—along with his staff as collateral for a pending payment of a goat for her capitulation in delighting her father-in-law? Well, I guess that Muller’s engraving comes close to what my exploding brain could concoct. This is such a bizarre story!

For those who wish to know the “proper” story of Judah and Tamar in the Old Testament, (“Genesis” 38:12–23; and specifically 38:15) the following extract (Contemporary English Version) may be helpful:

“15 When Judah came along, he did not recognize her because of the veil. He thought she was a prostitute
16 and asked her to sleep with him. She asked, ‘What will you give me if I do?’
17 ‘One of my young goats,’ he answered.
‘What will you give me to keep until you send the goat?’ she asked.
18 ‘What do you want?’ he asked in return.
‘The ring on that cord around your neck,’ was her reply. ‘I also want the special walking stick you have with you.’ He gave them to her, they slept together, and she became pregnant.”

One feature of Muller’s composition (after van Heemskerck) that I find especially interesting is the representation of the tree shading the couple. It is so lumpy! This curious choice of a tree, of course is symptomatic of Muller’s Mannerist “lobulated” style (i.e. a style consisting of lumps like earlobes), but I must say that I wonder where this aesthetic love of lumpiness originated.







Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Crayon-manner stipple engraving (early 1800s?) by an unidentified printmaker after Raphael


Unidentified engraver with the initial letters “Ruifs …” (as inscribed on plate)

“Head of boy facing to the right while holding a casket” (descriptive title only), early 1800s (?), after a drawing by Raphael.

Crayon-manner stipple engraving on watermarked laid paper, backed on a support sheet and trimmed within the image borderline with the lower text line truncated.
Sheet: (unevenly trimmed) 33.2 x 25.1 cm
Lettered on plate below the image: (trimmed/truncated text) “… [D]ef[s?]sine d’après les Cartons de Raphael, par [F?]. Ruif[s?]s …’

Condition: trimmed well within the image borderline and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in a heavily restored condition, but the spots of restoration (holes and stains) are not very evident.

I am selling this supremely beautiful but significantly trimmed engraving after a drawing by Raphael, for AU$113 (currently US$83.72/EUR71.47/GBP63.40 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this marvellous portrait of a young boy that seems to glow with youthful innocence and joy, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This beautiful engraving is a mystery to me. The critical information giving the name of the printmaker who executed it has been trimmed leaving only the initial letters of the name: “Rui …” or perhaps “Ruifs …”. One piece of background that I can speak with certainty is that the composition is based on a drawing by Raphael—or more precisely, what is termed a “cartoon”, in the sense that the original drawing was designed as a preliminary image for transferring to another artwork such as a fresco or tapestry.

Regarding the date of the print, again I can offer some degree of certainty in that the method of stipple engraving, termed the “crayon-manner”, was arguably first pioneered by Gilles Demarteau in around 1756. Consequently, this print must have been executed after that date. The date of the first crayon manner stipple engravings is also significant in another way: it marked the approximate beginning of the manufacture of wove paper (i.e. paper that does not show chain lines when held to the light). As this print is on laid paper rather than wove paper this suggests that the impression is likely to be taken around the early 1800s.






Monday, 16 July 2018

Jan Sadeler I’s engraving, “Annunciation to the Shepherds”, c1575–1600


Jan Sadeler I (aka Johannes Sadeler; Johann Sadeler) 1550–1600)

“Annunciation to the Shepherds” (TIB title), c1575–1600, after a painting by Jacopo Bassano (aka Jacopo da Ponte; Giacomo Bassano) (c.1510/18–1592) in the Giusti collection, Verona.

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed with a narrow margin around the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 22.7 x 28.7 cm; (plate) 22.2 x 28.4 cm; (image borderline) 19.6 x 28 cm
Lettered Latin on plate: (above the image borderline) “ECCE ENIM EVANGELIZO VOBIS GAUDIVM MAGNVM.” (transl. “I bring you good tidings of great joy”); (below the image borderline): “IN GRATIAM PERILLVSTRIS COMITIS AVGVSTINI DE IVSTIS, TABELLAM / HANC IOANNES SADELERVS ÆRE SCALPSIT, QVAM OLIM IACOBVS DE PONTO / BASSANENSIS COLORIBVS EFFINXERAT, VERONÆ.'
Lifetime impression. State i (of iii) before the address “Dancker Danckerts excud.” of state ii and the address of “F. de Wit excud.” of state iii.

TIB 7001.149 S1 (Isabelle de Ramaix & Walter L Strauss [eds.] 1999, “The Illustrated Bartsch 70, Part 1 [Supplement], Johan Sadeler I”, vol. 70, Part 1, Abaris Books, p. 175); Nagler 1835–52, no. 42; Le Blanc, no. 45; Wurzbach, no. 31; Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 180; Sénécgak 1987, no. 2 (Johan Sadeler I).; Pan, nos. 2 and 2a.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Annunciation to the shepherds. The angel appearing between clouds at centre, the shepherds huddled with their sheep, an ox, goat, dog and donkey, one reclining at right, two standing and conversing behind, a man seated at centre, resting his head on his hand; first state before publisher's address; after Jacopo Bassano.”
See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: crisp and well-printed lifetime (first state) impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing), trimmed with small margins around the platemark and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this lifetime impression of a very rare and beautiful engraving—note in particular the exquisite rendering of the dog towards the centre of the scene as it gazes up to the radiant angel proclaiming the birth of Christ—for the total cost of AU$313 (currently US$232.77/EUR198.48/GBP175.21 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this unusual engraving of a nighttime scene, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


What I love about this print—beyond the simply stunning skill of the engraver—is that the artist is able to imbue a spirit of life to the figures and animals portrayed. For instance, the dog shown near the centre of the composition is completely believable as a living and thinking dog engaged in gazing at the very unusual sight in the night sky: an angel making a proclamation in dazzling radiant light. Note also the juxtaposition of the dog with its uplifted but stilled tail next to the less than interested goats and sheep.

Of extra special interest to me is the artist’s treatment of the sleeping figure below the angel. Here the figure’s deep sleep is expressed not only by the downward tilt to his head but more insightfully by the use of an encircling net of contour lines connoting a brain inwardly engrossed in dreaming.

One final feature of this print that I need to point out is the artist’s subtle approach to rendering the foreground grass. The blades of the grass are depicted as illuminated by the heavenly light, but to render them as lit by the light (i.e. white) the immediate background to each blade has been engraved with fine lines to give the illusion that the grass is represented with white strokes.








Sunday, 15 July 2018

Valentin Lefebre’s etching, “Landscape with sleeping shepherd”, 1677/82


Valentin Lefebre (aka Valentin Le Fevre; Valentin Le Febre; Valentin Lefebure; Valentin Lefèvre) (1637 – 1677 [dates given by the BM & Ruggeri] or 1642/3–1683 [dates given by the MET & NGV])

“Landscape with sleeping shepherd” (Rijksmuseum title), 1677/82, in reverse to the drawing of the same subject by Titian (1489/90–1576) held by the Louvre (Inv. No. 5534), from the series of 53 etchings after Titian and Veronese (Ruggeri I.1-53; Hollstein X,1-53), “Opera Selectiora” (aka “Opera selectiora quae Titianus Vecellius Cadubriensis et Paulus Calliari Veronensis inventarunt ac pinxerunt”), published by Jacobus van Campen (fl.1682) in Venice.

Regarding the publication of the series, “Opera Selectiora,” the BM offers the following information:
“The series was left unfinished at his early death, and finally published in 1682 by Jacques van Campen (the 1680 edition does not seem to exist). It was reprinted in 1684, and in the XVIIIc in 1749, 1763; later by Teodoro Viero who added his address to the plates (editions in 1786 and 1789).” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=117639)

Etching on laid paper trimmed with narrow margins to the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (support sheet) 34 x 48.5 cm; (sheet) 25.7 x 40.7 cm; (image borderline) 25.1 x 40.2 cm
Inscribed on plate within the lower image borderline: (left) "T[?]an. in"; (left of centre) "J. Van Campen Formis Venetÿs.";  (right of centre) "V. lefebre del. et sculp."'
State i (of ii) before the address of Teodoro Viero of the later 1786 and 1789 editions.

Ruggeri 2001 I.23 (Ugo Ruggeri 2001, “Valentin Lefèvre: dipinti, disegni, incisioni”, Merigo Art Books, Manerba, p. 217, cat. nr. I. 23); Villot 23 (Frédéric Villot 1844, "Valentin Lefebre, peintre et graveur à l'eau-forte", in 'Le Cabinet de l'amateur et de l'antiquaire', 3, 1844, pp. 169–197); Hollstein Dutch 1-53 (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam)

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “Landscape with a sleeping shepherd under a tree. A herd of animals grazes next to him. A brook winds through the landscape to the right, houses stand in the distance. The print is part of a 53-part series of prints based on paintings by Titian and Veronese.”

See also the description of the print at the British Museum:
“Landscape with a flock of sheep and a goat grazing in the foreground, a shepherd sleeping at left, a river with a bridge at right, a village in the background; after Titian. 1682”

Regarding the BM’s date of “1682” for the print, I suspect that this refers to the date of publication rather than its date of execution otherwise there is an anomaly with the BM’s birth and death dates for the artist given as “1637–1677”.

Condition: faultless, richly inked, crisp and well-printed early impression with minor marks appropriate to the age of the print otherwise the sheet is in excellent condition. The print is backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this large masterpiece of etching that seems to shimmer with light, for AU$243 (currently US$180.48/EUR154.40/GBP136.37 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this extraordinary interpretation of a landscape by Titian, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This print has been sold


Although the captured shimmering light and movement underpinning this etching is symptomatic of Lefevre’s interest in the period style now called Mannerism, this print also captures the spirit of the sleeping (and perhaps inebriated—judging by his tankard) herdsman on the far left of the composition. From my standpoint, this depiction of landscape is less rooted in what could be seen but rather it is driven by an emotional response to the sensory experience of landscape; an almost hallucinogenic account of the landscape features.