Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Philips Galle’s engraving, “Tagus”, 1586



Philips Galle (aka Philippe Galle; Philippus Gallaeus) (1537–1612)

“Tagus”, 1586, plate 13 from the series of seventeen plates—note that the BM advises that there are sixteen plates in the series (see the curator’s comment for BM no. 1942,0720.1.35), but this is incorrect based on the TIB catalogue of plates (see 5601.090:1 to 5601:090:17), “Semideorum Marinorum Amnicorumque Sigillariæ Imagines Perelegantes” (River and Sea Gods) (Hollstein 316-332 [Ph. Galle]), published by Philips Galle in Amsterdam.

Engraving on laid paper, trimmed along the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 16.5 x 9.9 cm
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) "Phls Gall. inuen." (trimmed before “et Sculpl.”); (centre) "TAGVS."; (right) "13."
State i (of ii) Note that the attribution of this impression to the first state is based on the text line being the same as the first state impression held by the Rijksmuseum (RP-P-1898-A-19957) but there may be other changes to the plate for the second state that I have not been able to ascertain.

TIB 1987 5601.090:13 (Arno Dolders & Walter Strauss [eds.] 1987, vol. 56, Supplement, p. 351); Hollstein 316-332 (Philips Galle); New Hollstein Dutch 425-1 (2)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Personification of the river Tagus as a bearded, nude male figure seen in profile to the left, seated on an stone block, his hand resting on a seashell spilling water; beyond at left is a boat and in the background a view of Lisbon.”
See also the Rijksmuseum’s description of this print:

Condition: crisp impression with printer’s creases that have been touched with watercolour to minimise their intrusion. The sheet has been trimmed along the image borderline with a line of text removed below the image borderline (“et Sculp”) and missing edges restored. The sheet is backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this visually arresting image of the river-god, Tagus, created by one of the most famous old master engravers of the sixteen century, for AU$226 (currently US$166.42/EUR144.09/GBP126.45 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this marvellous print engraved only a couple of decades after Michelangelo put down his brushes after completing the “Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel, 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


For those (like myself until earlier this evening) who may be wondering about the title of this print, “Tagus”, the name is taken from the river of the same name on the border of Spain and Portugal that empties into the Atlantic Ocean near Lisbon. The naked chap in the foreground is Galle’s vision of the mythological river-god of the region who is portrayed filling the river from a conch shell. For those living around Lisbon, Galle depicts how the port once looked in the distance beyond the river-god. Fortunately I will soon be able to check how much the city has changed as my wonderful cook is soon to pack our bags and take me there in a few months’ time … wacko!

Regarding the context of this river god, the print is part of an even larger series of thirty-eight engravings held by the British Museum (in a bound album) than the seventeen plates of the "River and Sea Gods" engraved by Galle. The Curator of the British Museum advises that this album “combines various (partial) series engraved by de Passe [Crispijn de Passe the Elder] and others after Maarten de Vos …” (See BM no. 1942,0720.1.11).








Monday, 18 June 2018

Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietricy’s etching, “Three Studies: Tritons Fighting in Shallow Water”, 1763



Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietricy (aka Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich) (1712–1774)

“Three Studies: Tritons Fighting in Shallow Water”, 1763, three plates inscribed consecutively: “19”, “20” and “22”. 

Etchings on laid paper trimmed to the plate mark with Adrian Zingg’s engraved numbers inscribed in the upper corners indicating that these impressions were a part of Dietricy’s posthumous edition arranged by his widow. (Note: after the plate was published in the Zingg edition the number was erased by JF Frauenholz for Fraenholz's later edition.)

Plate 19 numbered in extremely small numerals at upper-left corner, “19”, and inscribed at upper-right corner: “Dietricy f / 1763”. Size: (sheet) 8.8 x 14.6 cm. State ii (of iii) before the inscribed Zingg number is erased in state iii.

Plate 20 numbered at upper-left corner, “20”, and inscribed at upper-right corner: “Dietricy 1763” with the number “3” reversed. Size: (sheet) 8.6 x 14.5 cm. State ii (of iii) before the inscribed Zingg number is erased in state iii.

Plate 22 numbered at upper-right corner, “22”, and inscribed at lower-right: “Dietricy”. Size: (sheet) 8.6 x 15 cm. State ii (of iii) before the inscribed Zingg number is erased in state iii.

See the description of each of these etchings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: https://art.famsf.org/christian-wilhelm-dietricy-or-dietrich

Condition: richly inked, faultless impressions trimmed to the plate marks and with thread margins. The sheets have remnants of hinges and collectors’ reference numbers verso and are lightly age-toned appropriate to the age of the prints; otherwise they are in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this set of three studies for AU$480 in total (currently US$357.62/EUR308.34/GBP270.04 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 these small but graphically strong etchings, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.




History has not been very kind to Dietricy (aka Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich) as his prints are often dismissed with comments such as the opening description of his artwork in Wikipedia: “...he was adept at imitating many earlier artists, but never developed a style of his own” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Wilhelm_Ernst_Dietrich). Ooch!

Certainly, I have to concur with this assessment in terms of this suite of three etchings of tritons fighting, as the style, subject, and even the format, is clearly borrowed from Salvator Rosa’s (1615–1673) series, “Battling Tritons”; for example see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1448120&partId=1&searchText=Salvator+Rosa+tritons&page=1.

Looking beyond Dietricy’s disposition to cannibalise other artists’ ideas, the one attribute that to my mind gives Dietricy legitimacy as a master of his craft is the way that he employs line. In his hands, line is used to guide the eye to focus on the key features in his composition—note for instance how in each of these prints the hand of the triton holding the club is drawn with precision—while simultaneous guiding the eye away from the “unimportant” features—note the loss of detail in drawing the tritons’ tails. I mention this attribute to his style because a quick check on his source of inspiration—Rosa’s tritons—reveals that Rosa is more democratic in his use of line in the sense that Rosa portrays nearly all of his featured subjects with the same degree of focus.










Sunday, 17 June 2018

Charles Émile Jacque’s etching, “Landscape—Plough Hitched to Rest”, 1846



Charles Émile Jacque (1813–1894)

“Landscape—Plough Hitched to Rest” (aka “Paysage - charrue attelée au repos”), 1846, printed by Auguste Delâtre (1822–1907) and published by the Alliance des Arts (aka Marchant) (fl.c.1830–80), Paris.

Etching on chine collé with plate tone on heavy wove paper with wide margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 24.6 x 36 cm; (plate) 5.6 x 11.6 cm
Inscribed on plate: (lower left) “Ch. Jacque 1846 / Alliance des Arts 140, r. de Rivoli”; (lower right) “Imp. Aug. Delatre … [illegible]'.

Guiffrey 1866 111 (undescribed state) (J-J Guiffrey 1866, “L'Oeuvre de Charles Jacque: catalogue de ses eaux-fortes et pointes seches”, Paris);  IFF 163 (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Horse-drawn plough in a field, in profile to left; later impression, with publisher's and printer's addresses, of print executed in 1846”

Condition: richly inked, faultless impression in pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains, abrasions or foxing). This print is in a superb/museum-quality condition.

I am selling this beautifully preserved etching by one of the luminaries of the Barbizon School for AU$138 (currently US$102.71/EUR88.50/GBP77.31 at the time of posting this print) 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 unpretentiously simple and very beautiful etching, 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


For me the beauty of this etching lies in the loosely laid lines connoting a rapidly executed plate … and I have no doubt that this is true. In fact I can picture in my mind’s eye Jacque sitting on the edge of a freshly ploughed furrow as he inscribes his printing plate with this image; hence the reason for the fairly low angle of view and the reason that the horse and plough in middle ground—and I should mention that there is another lightly sketched in the far distance—are aligned parallel to the furrow on which Jacque sat.

The fact that this was a rapidly executed print has a slightly interesting outcome as, unlike Jacque's more formal studies, the publisher of this etching is the Alliance des Arts noted to be a publisher of “cheap” prints. Indeed, the British Museum even draws attention to this fact in a letter Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo dated 20 August 1880:

“Je crois que tu pourrais peutêtre trouver tout juste ce qu'il me faut à l'Alliance des Arts, où l'on a les lithographies des Artistes Contemporains &c. qui s'y vendent extrêmement bon marché”

(transl. "I believe you might find just what I need at the Alliance des Arts, where they have the lithographs from contemporary artists &c., which they sell at an extremely cheap price").





Saturday, 16 June 2018

Engraving (with etching) by Abraham Blooteling and Pieter Stevens van Gunst, “Abdomen Posterior Wall with House Fly”, 1685


Abraham Blooteling (aka Abraham Bloteling; Abraham Blotelingh; Abraham Blootelingh) (1640–1690) and Pieter Stevens van Gunst (aka Pieter van Gunst) (1658/ 59–c1731)

“Abdomen Posterior Wall with House Fly”, 1685, after the drawing in the Ecole de Médicine, Paris, by Gerard de Lairesse (1640/41–1711) as plate 52 in Govard Bidloo’s (1649–1713) famous anatomical atlas, “Anatomia humani corporis / Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams", first published by the widow (de Weduwe van Joannes van Someren) (fl. after 1679) of Johan van Someren (1622–1676) in 1685. This is impression is from the 1734 edition published by Jacob van Poolsum (1701–1762) in Utrecht.

Etching and engraving on cream laid paper (2.5 cm chain-lines) with margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 50.4 x 34.6 cm; (plate) 47.5 x 32.1 cm
Numbered on plate at upper right corner: “T. 52” and indexed with letters from “A” to “P”.

WorthPoint offers the following description of this print:
“Large house fly shown on the specimen. Abdomen, posterior wall, in situ. Viscera removed to show diaphragm, crus of diaphragm around divided aorta and esophagus [sic]. Vertebrae and psoas muscle shown.
The splendid anatomical work of Bidloo is considered one of the most beautiful ones ever printed. It became famous because of the very elegant and elaborate engraved tables after drawings by Gerard de Lairesse, carried out by Abraham Blooteling and Pieter Stevens van Gunst.”

Condition: faultless, crisp and well-printed impression with age-toning and minor marks appropriate to the age of the print otherwise it is in near perfect condition.

(Note that this extraordinary engraving has been listed previously, but I have washed it recently—with only water and no chemicals. The print is now in a superb condition.)

I am selling this large masterpiece of anatomical engraving with the trompe-l'œil hideous addition of a house fly to make the image truly unforgettable, for AU$485 (currently US$360.97/EUR311.05/GBP27170 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 and technically magnificent print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This masterpiece of anatomical engraving has fascinated medical students for centuries. The reason is only in part because it is a marvellous illustration of the posterior wall of the abdomen with the viscera removed to show the diaphragm, divided aorta, oesophagus, vertebrae and psoas muscle. More fascinating than the objective and highly detailed rendering of the dissected cadaver, however, I suspect that what makes this print memorable is the reflexive reaction prompted upon seeing a fly licking its lips while perched on the surgical drape next to the dissection.

For me, the vacillating instinctive response of revulsion and fascination is not just because of the presence of a fly that may not have washed its feet, but also an uneasy feeling with seeing the contrast between the portrayed mechanical sheen of the dissection pins and the soft flesh that they hold in place. I want to avert my eyes but cannot. This really is a masterpiece of “brutal Dutch realism”—to borrow Clifford S Ackley’s description (1981) in the marvellous exhibition catalogue, “Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt” (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, p. 278).








Friday, 15 June 2018

Nicolaes Berchem’s etching, “The Resting Herd”, c1652


Nicolaes Berchem (aka Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem; Niclas Berghem; Claes Berighem; Nicolaes Pietersz. Berrighem) (1621/22–1683)

“The Resting Herd” (Le troupeau en repos), c1652, plate 3 from a series of five related plates featuring animals.
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed at the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 26.5 x 21.2 cm
Signed in top right corner: "Berghem fe."
Numbered in the lower right corner: "3" (signifying the third plate in the series of five.)
State iii (of iii [?])

Hollstein 10.III (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam); Weigel 1843 297.10 (Rudolph Weigel 1843, “Suppléments au Peintre-Graveur de Adam Bartsch, Vol.I”, Leipzig); Dutuit 1881-5 I.36.10 (Manuel E Dutuit, “de l'Amateur d'Estampes”, 4 vols, Paris); Bartsch V.260.10 (Adam Bartsch 1803, ”Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna); TIB 7(5).10 (260) (Walter L Strauss 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 5. p.55)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 3: The Resting Herd. A herd of different animals (one cow, a horse, a donkey, three goats and three sheep) resting, a shepherd leaning on a stick to the left, trees and a wide landscape in the background; from a series of five prints showing animals” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1662222&partId=1&searchText=Berchem+&page=7)

See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.38009.

Condition: crisp impression trimmed unevenly along the platemark and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The upper-right corner is chipped/rounded and there is light age-toning and a few minor marks and abrasions, otherwise the sheet is in very good condition for its considerable age.
(Note that this is the second impression of this important print that I have listed. The earlier impression has been sold.)

I am selling what is arguably Berchem’s masterpiece of etching—or at least one of his masterworks—for the total cost of AU$224 (currently US$167.31/EUR144.33/GBP125.89 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this truly magnificent print that lends an impression of grand scale to what is essentially a simple scene of rural life in the 17th century, 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 this is a scene of rural tranquillity, to my eyes, the way that Berchem portrays the featured animals casts them with an aura of timelessness. What I mean by this is that he renders each animal to show its quintessential attributes rather than drawing attention to the animal’s uniquely individual characteristics. For instance, when Berchem represents a mule, he does not portray a particular mule with odd spots and a lame leg. Instead he ensures that the point of focus is on the key characteristic that distinguish an archetypal mule: its large ears. Similarly, when Berchem represents a horse he ensures that the focus is on its head and its mane.

In short, Berchem portrays his subject matter with the aim of showcasing broad ideals about the forms represented so that trees and their foliage may not be about a particular tree but the essence of trees—the “treeness” of trees (to borrow a dollop of Platonism).






Thursday, 14 June 2018

Hieronymus Wierix’s engraving, “The Raising of the Cross”, c1600


Hieronymus Wierix (aka Hieronymus Wierx; Jerome Wierix) (1553–1619)

“The Raising of the Cross” (aka “Crucifixion” [Rijksmuseum title]), c1600, from the series, “The Passion of Christ” (aka “Passio Domini Nostri Iesv Christi”), designed and published by Hieronymus Wierix in Antwerp with privilege by Joachim de Buschere (secretary in the Council of Brabant).

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed to the image borderline (without the lines of text below the borderline) and backed on a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 7.4 x 5.4 cm

Loss of the text lines below the image borderline makes the task problematic in determining which of the four states this impression was taken. Nevertheless, based on the complete/full lines describing the top of the handle of the foreground basket, I assume that this impression is from the second state. (Note, compare these unbroken lines with the broken lines in the same area of the impression held by the BM [1859,0709.3049] and the impression held by the Rijksmuseum [RP-P-1911-492]). Beyond the treatment of these important lines, based on the crispness of the lines throughout the print that show no sign of wear to the printing plate, this is undoubtedly an early/lifetime impression.

Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1979 178 (Marie Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1978, “Les Estampes des Wierix ... catalogue raisonné”, vol. 1., Brussels, p. 27, cat.no. 178, illus. p. 21); Hollstein 218 (Wierix); Alvin 1866 353 (L Alvin 1886, “Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre des trois frères Jan, Jérome et Antoine Wierix”, Brussels)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The rising of the Cross; Christ seen at the cross and various figures seen rising the Cross from the ground; a basket with some instruments of Christ's Passion seen in the foreground, to right.”

See also the description offered by the Rijksmuseum:
“Christ is nailed to the cross. Some soldiers have the cross and put the right in the ground. In the margin a three-line Bible quote from Luc. 23 in Latin.”

Condition: crisp, well-inked and well-printed early/lifetime impression trimmed to the image borderline (without the text lines below the borderline) and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this very small and finely crafted engraving by one of the most important of the old master printmakers for AU$218 (currently US$164.70/EUR139.27122.74/GBP122.74 at the time of 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 spectacularly beautiful engraving exemplifying the love of lively rhythms and chiaroscuro lighting of the Mannerist period, 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 advice about its purchase


Although the strong rhythms and theatrical lighting (termed “chiaroscuro”) in this engraving exemplify the Mannerist leanings of Hieronymus Wierix, what catches my eye is the subtlety of the artist’s approach in his use of rhythm and shading. Note, for example, how the pointing angle created by the arms of the two figures at the foot of the cross help to visually “explain” that the cross is about to be lowered into the ground. Note also how the figure directly behind the cross is cast completely in shadow so that the viewer’s eye is drawn to Christ on the cross. These examples may seem minor but when the approach of Hieronymus is compared to that of his brother, Johannes (see the earlier post and discussion about Johannes Wierix: http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2017/06/johannes-wierixs-engraving-christ.html), the subtleties of Hieronymus’ skills as an engraver become apparent.  







Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Daniel Hopfer’s etching, “Ornamental Fillet with Neptune and Ceres”, c1520s


Daniel Hopfer (1471–1536)

“Ornamental Fillet with Neptune and Ceres”, c1520s, from the Funck edition (signified by the number “140” inscribed on plate at upper right).

Iron etching on laid paper with small margins backed on a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 9.8 x 14.5 cm; (plate) 8.5 x 13.7 cm
Signed on plate with the artist’s initials: (upper left) “D”; (upper right) “H”
Numbered on plate with the Funck edition number; (upper right) “140”
State ii (of iii)

TIB 17(8).105(499) (Walter L Strauss & Robert A Koch [eds.] 1981, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Early German Masters”, vol. 17, p. 178); Bartsch VIII.499.105 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, vol. VIII, Vienna, p. 499); Hollstein XV. 116 II/II (F W H Hollstein 1954, “German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c.1400-1700”, vol. XV, Amsterdam, p. 138).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Ornament fillet with Neptune and Ceres; seated on tendrils on either side of a grotesque winged figure below a burning torch.”

See also the description of the print at the Rijksmuseum:
“Flat decoration. In the middle a cherub between two horns of plenty.”

Condition: a strong, richly inked and well-printed impression with small margins in near faultless condition for its considerable age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, creases, abrasions, stains or foxing) and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this superb etching taken from an iron plate by the artist who history has accredited with creating the first etching on paper (as opposed to etching on armour) for AU$343 (currently US$260.08/EUR221.20/GBP195.08 at the time of 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 rare, early and nearly faultless impression, 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


Hopfer’s etchings have always been highly sought after. A part of the reason is that they are the first etchings ever created—at least in terms of prints on paper rather than etched designs on armour—and, as examples of being the first etchings, are “must have” prints in any collection. Beyond the curiosity value, however, Hopfer’s designs are simply superb as can be seen here.

Regarding the history behind the reprinting of Hopfer’s plates, TIB offers the following information:

“Many of the etched iron plates of the Hopfers survived their lifetimes and were reprinted much later. In the 17th century a Nuremberg publisher named David Funck numbered 230 of these plates and issued a volume entitled ‘Opera Hopferiana.’ In 1802 a publisher named C. Wilhelm Silberberg in Frankfurt-am-Main reissued 92 plates with the Funck numbers in a volume with he also entitled ‘Opera Hopferiana.’ The plates were printed on unnumbered pages of a heavy wove paper.” (Robert A Koch 1981, “Editor’s Note” in “The Illustrated Bartsch” vol. 17, [n.p. 7])

The above impression is from the early Funck edition of the 1600s printed on laid paper. What is interesting to note about the later impressions is that they often reveal significant evidence of rust corrosion to the iron printing plate and sometimes even rust stains in terms of tiny dots.