Saturday, 18 February 2017

Charles Meryon’s etching, “L'ancien Louvre, d'après une peinture de Zeeman, 1651”


Charles Meryon (1821–68)
“L'ancien Louvre, d'après une peinture de Zeeman, 1651” (The old Louvre, from a painting by Zeeman, 1651), 1866, after a painting by Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman (1623 –67), printed by Vernant and published in “Byblis” (1922)

Etching on fine wove paper with watermark (fragment) and margins as published. Note that the plate was etched on the back of the cancelled plate, “Le Petit Pont, Paris”, featured in my previous post.
Size: (sheet) 22.4 x 28.2 cm; (plate) 16.4 x 26.2 x cm; (image borderline) 13.3 x 24.2 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) "Peinte par R. Zeeman"; (right) "Gravé par C. M. 1866"
Delteil+Wright 53; Schneiderman 1990 96

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The old Louvre, after Zeeman; elevated view across the river Seine to the palace and surrounding buildings, numerous figures seen beside water. 1866 Etching” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1444550&partId=1&searchText=l%27ancien+Louvre+d%27apres+une+peinture+de+Zeeman&page=1)

Condition: faultless impression in pristine condition.

I am selling this remarkably brooding etching of the old Louvre (after a painting by Zeeman) taken from the back of the same plate, “Le Petit Pont, Paris” featured in my previous post, for a total cost of AU$276 (currently US$211.51/EUR199.52/GBP170.60 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing a major print by (arguably) one of the most important of the 19th century etchers, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. (Note that I will be posting an impression from the back of the same plate, “Ancien Louvre” in my next listing)  

This print has been sold


The French Government commissioned Meryon to make this print as an interpretative copy of Zeeman’s (aka Reinier Nooms) painting in the Louvre collection (see http://l7.alamy.com/zooms/b5ae75e8d4044562b78d035acb931c2c/view-of-the-louvre-palace-paris-reinier-zeeman-c1623-c1668-dutch-painter-d96xpa.jpg). Sadly, it was executed only two years before he died after being committed to an asylum.

Although an artist’s mental health should not be a topic to dwell upon—after all, few artists would claim that they are unquestionably sane—in the case of Meryon, his anguish in suffering from deep melancholy and anxiety is fairly plain to see. In this print, for instance, I sense and underlying feeling of menace: a brooding grimness matching Wikipaedia’s description of Meryon’s hallucinations of seeing “enemies” waiting “for him at the corners of the streets” and friends that rob him (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_M%C3%A9ryon). Indeed, only eight years before Meryon had etched this print he had been committed to an asylum for his first internment after digging up his garden to find imaginary dead bodies and banishing a gun at visitors (see http://www.campbell-fine-art.com/artists.php?id=80).

Mindful that this print is ostensibly a graphic translation of Zeeman’s painting, the print is far from being an exact reproduction of the painting. For instance, Zeeman’s painting features heavily laden barges making their way along the Seine River, but Meyron’s interpretation of the same barges shows them as a raked in strong light so that they appear less like a flotilla and more like menacing claws. Similarly, Zeeman’s treatment of the sky features a soft canopy of clouds whereas Zeeman reinvents the clouds as solid lobulated forms. In short, Meryon has used Zeeman’s composition as a foundation upon which he has constructed a psychological self portrait of his manic fears in the guise of a scenic panorama.

For those interested in Meryon’s views of Paris, see my previous discussions: “Charles Meryon’s etching from the cancelled plate, ‘Le Petit Pont, Paris’” (http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2017/02/charles-meryons-etching-from-cancelled.html) and “Charles Meryon’s etching, ‘Bain-froid Chevrier’” (http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2016/10/charles-meryons-etching-bain-froid.html






Charles Meryon’s etching from the cancelled plate, “Le Petit Pont, Paris”


Charles Meryon (1821–68)
“Le Petit Pont, Paris” (cancelled plate), 1850, from the series of 22 plates, “Eaux-fortes sur Paris”, printed by Vernant and published in “Byblis” (1922)

Etching with cancellation marks on fine wove paper with watermark (fragment) and margins as published. Note that the plate has been cut on the left side as the back of the plate was etched following the cancellation of “Le Petit Pont, Paris” for “Ancien Louvre” that I will be featuring in my next post.

Size: (sheet) 28.2 x 22.4 cm; (plate) 26.5 x 16.2 cm; (image borderline) 24.5 x 15.5 cm
Lettering of title, date, plate number and inscribed signature are all partially erased.

Delteil+Wright 1924 24 (Delteil, Loys; Wright, Harold, “Catalogue raisonné of the etchings of Charles Meryon”, New York, Winfred Porter Truesdell, 1924; see also revised edition,1998); Schneiderman 1990 20 (Schneiderman, Richard S; Raysor II, Frank W, “The Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Charles Meryon”, London, Garton & Co, in associaton with Scolar Press, 1990)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print (pre-cancellation):
“Plate 7: view from bank of the river Seine of small bridge, spires of Notre Dame Cathedral seen rising beyond; published in a series of the artist's etchings on Paris. 1850” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1441797&partId=1&searchText=Le+Petit+Pont,+Paris&page=1)

Regarding the series, “Eaux-fortes sur Paris”, the curator of the British Museum offers the following information:
“… a series of 22 etchings, 'Eaux-fortes sur Paris', published by the artist in three parts between 1852 and 1854; usually two at a time. A portrait of the artist by Bracquemond, but with etched text by Meryon himself, appeared with the series (see 1924,0112.2). For a full listing of the published and unpublished plates, see Delteil+Wright. The numbering assigned to the plates is that of D+W.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1442533&partId=1&searchText=1866,0210.263&page=1)

Condition: excellent impression from a very distressed cancelled plate. The sheet is in pristine condition.

I am selling this remarkable curiosity of a brutally cancelled etching by (arguably) one of the most important of the 19th century etchers for a total cost of AU$186 (currently US$142.54/EUR134.46/GBP114.97 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this exceptionally rare print taken from a cancelled etching plate, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. (Note that I will be posting an impression from the back of the same plate, “Ancien Louvre” in my next listing)  


In case anyone thinks that this is an etching that was intended to be seen with all those scratched marks on it—it isn’t. This is an impression taken from Meryon’s etching plate after he cancelled it in the hope that no one would ever see what you are looking at. Essentially this image is designed to be such a visual mess that no reputable printer would ever even think about printing from the “expired” plate.  Meryon succeeded in messing up the image, but what he hadn’t envisaged is that he did it in such a savage way that it is now (arguably) renewed with an ugly beauty that I find compelled to examine closely. 

What I love is how some of the printed scratches change from positive/black lines (e.g. in the sky and boardwalk) to negative lines (e.g. across the towers of Notre Dame). For me, such a process of erasure makes me think about the mindset that Meryon must have been in at the time. He must have been in a wild frenzy, perhaps even angry, as he hacked at the plate.

Of course there is a long history of such grand acts of cancellation. In the Middle-Ages, for example, palimpsest—the erasing text and images to replace them with fresh text and images——was not an uncommon practice in the crafting of manuscripts. After all, parchment and vellum (prepared animal skins) used as pages/leaves in books were expensive and recycling was the rage of the time. Regarding a more recent memorable act of erasing—this time “artful” erasing —that brought a sparkle of excitement to me as a young artist was hearing that Robert Rauschenberg had the audacity to ask Willem de Kooning for one of de Kooning’s drawings so that he could erase it.

What this very intentional and graphic act of violent plate cancelling and its later reprinting reveals is that future viewers will always find something perversely interesting about the working practices of truly great artists—even when they try to limit what we see. Interestingly, even Rauschenberg’s famously erased de Kooning has been “refreshed” so that we can now "see" past his erasure, as “in 2010 SFMOMA used a range of digital capture and processing technologies to enhance the remaining traces of the original de Kooning drawing” (https://www.sfmoma.org/artwork/98.298). 






Thursday, 16 February 2017

IA Fridich’s engraving of owls and pelicans, “Bubo, Noctua, Onocrotalus”


Jacob Andreas Friedrich Snr. (aka IA Fridrich—the name with which he signs his prints) (1684–1751) (Note: Friedrich Snr. shares the same first names as his son, Jacob Andreas Friedrich Jr. [1714-1779], who signs his prints: "Jac.Andr. Fridrich”, hence my attribution of this plate to the father.)

“Bubo, Noctua, Onocrotalus: TAB. CCXLVI—Levitici Cap. XI. V. 17”, 1733, from Johann Jacob Scheuchzer’s (1672–1733) “Phyica Sacra” or “Physique sacrée, ou Histoire naturelle de la Bible, traduite du latin de M. Jean Jacques Scheuchzer,... enrichie de figures en taille douce, gravées par les soins de Jean André Pfeffel”

Engraving on laid paper with full margins as published
Size: (sheet) 35.9 x 24.1 cm, (plate) 31.4 x 19.9 cm
Lettered at upper right: “TAB. CCXLVI.
Lettered below the image: (right) “LEVITICI Cap. XI. V. 17. / Bubo, Noctua, Onocrotalus.” ; (left) the same text as inscribed on the lower right but written in German.
Inscribed at lower left margin edge: "I. A. Fridrich sculps.”
Condition: superb impression with age-toning to the left edge: otherwise in excellent (near pristine) condition.

I am selling this amazing and almost magical concoction of imagery touching on natural history, landscape, medallion and numismatics by Friedrich the elder (see note above) for a total cost of AU$106 (currently US$81.60/EUR76.40/GBP98.50 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this visually arresting print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. (Note that I have other prints from the same series available in the discussion, “Expression by juxtaposition: Kilian, Pintz, Orlik & Carracci” (http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2012/10/kilian-pintz-orlik-carracci-expression.html)  


Few prints catch the eye like this amazing mashup of imagery.

I simply love the way the owl perches itself with rather sharp looking talons on the portrayed ornate frame of the image. To my eyes, this owl acts as an intermediary trompe-l'œil device (i.e. a trick illusion designed to fool the eye) between the physical world in which the viewer inhabits and the pictorial world inhabited by pelicans and an alpine scene beyond.

There is a lot of information available about the 700 plates (of which this is one) illustrating Scheuchzer’s famous “Phyica Sacra; for example, “’Physica Sacra,’ Johannes Jacob Scheuchzer, 1731: Guest Post by Morbid Anatomy’s Joanna Ebenstein” (https://nyamcenterforhistory.org/2013/08/27/physica-sacra-johannes-jacob-scheuchzer-1731-guest-post-by-morbid-anatomys-joanna-ebenstein/)   Sadly, the underlining reason behind Scheuchzer’s text and illustrations designed to correlate pseudo-science with the Old Testament scriptures is a little too bizarre and so I will leave the explanation to Wikipedia: “In his [Scheuchzer] ‘ Lithographia Helvetica’, he described fossils as ‘plays of nature’ or alternately as leftovers from the biblical Flood. Most famously, he claimed that a fossilized skeleton found in a Baden quarry was the remains of a human who had perished in the deluge. This claim, which seemed to verify the claims of Christian scripture, was accepted for several decades after Scheuchzer's death, until 1811, when French naturalist Georges Cuvier re-examined the specimen and showed that it was actually a large prehistoric salamander.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Jakob_Scheuchzer






Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Wenceslaus Hollar’s etching of Georg Ettenhard


Wenceslaus Hollar (aka Wenzel Hollar; Václav Hollar) (1607–77)
“Endpiece: Bust-length portrait of Georg Ettenhard, Knight of the Holy Empire and Supreme Treasurer of the Holy Cross in Spain, surrounded by six putti arranging fruit in two cornucopias”, 1646, from the series of 12 pates, “Pædopægnion”, after Peeter van Avont (1600–52). The first edition was published by Peeter van Avont but this fourth state impression was from the edition published by Frederick de Widt (1629/30 –1706). (Note: de Widt flourished as a publisher after 1648, consequently, this impression is most likely printed between 1648 and 1706.)

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed to the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 12.3 x 20.2 cm
Lettered within design at lower centre with artists' names and date: 'Petrus van Avont inu:', 'W: Hollar fecit 1646.', publisher's name: 'F. de Widt exc.', and with '12.' in lower right corner.
State iv (of v?)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Endpiece to the series, with six putti arranging fruit in two cornucopias, flanking an oval, with portrait of Georg Ettenhard, half-length to left, with shoulder-length wavy hair, moustache and small beard, looking towards the viewer; gourd on the ground at far right; after Peeter van Avont; fourth state, before De Wit's name erased. 1645-1646 Etching” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3488508&partId=1&searchText=Georg+Ettenhard&people=120831&page=1). The British Museum also holds an impression of this print in its third state (i.e. before the addition of the name of the publisher (de Widt): see http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3488490&partId=1&searchText=Georg+Ettenhard&people=120831&page=1)

Pennington 1982 493.III I (Pennington, Richard, “A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar”, Cambridge, 1982; New Hollstein (German) 860.IV (Hollar) (Hollstein, F W H, “The New Hollstein: German engravings, etchings and woodcuts 1400-1700”, Amsterdam, 1996)

Condition: good impression but with some wear to the plate, trimmed to the image borderline. The sheet is appropriately age toned but in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds, foxing or significant stains).

I am selling this rare and exceptionally interesting etching by one of the most famous printmakers for a total cost of AU$184 (currently US$141.21/EUR133.69/GBP113.62 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this visually arresting and important print, 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


Hollar was one of the world’s greatest etchers. He had both the technical ability and, importantly, the discipline to represent a subject with all the optical fidelity of a camera. For example, Hollar’s mimetic renderings of fur muffs that Richard T Godfrey (1994) in “Wenceslaus Hollar: A Bohemian Artist in England” claims “are justly the best loved and admired of all of Hollar’s prints” (p. 127) are so real that they “perfectly suggest the softness and warmth of fur” (ibid).

I needed to clarify Hollar's remarkable technical virtuosity first as there is something very special about this print: it fuses together in a single image the phenomenon of binocular vision (i.e. looking at a subject with two eyes) and monocular vision (i.e. looking at a subject with one eye).

Regarding the effect of looking through two eyes—binocular vision—we take this phenomenon for granted as most viewers have two eyes to examine a subject. Interestingly, very few early artists chose to portray the effect of looking at a subject in this way. For instance, with two eyes open the focus is on a very small area of a subject and focal clarity diminishes in 360 degrees away from this point of focus. This phenomenon is exemplified in Hollar’s print where the oval portrait of Georg Ettenhard is rendered with a high degree of clarity while the putti carrying their cornucopias on either side of him are rendered in gradually diminishing degrees of focus away from his portrait.

By contrast, monocular vision—looking with one eye—does not permit focus on a single point. Instead it allows the eye to focus on a whole plane. The best way to understand the difference between these two ways of looking at a subject is to think about how a camera “sees” the world. Essentially, vision through a camera's lens is not on a spot but on a whole plane of focus that is parallel to the camera's lens and with diminishing focal clarity in parallel layers in front of the plane in focus and behind it. In Hollar’s print, note how he has crafted the three putti in the foreground with equal degrees of focal sharpness and the three putti behind them with equal degrees of blurriness.






Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Antonio Tempesta’s etching of Ceres ordering Erysicthon's punishment


Antonio Tempesta (1555?–1630)
“Insatiabili fame Erisichtonem torquet Fames” (Ceres Ordering Erysicthon's Punishment), 1606. plate 80 from the series “Ovid’s Metamorphosis” / “Metamorphoseon sive transformationum” (Metamorphoses and transformations), published by Willem Jansz. (c.1605–20)

Etching on laid paper cut irregularly around the image borderline and with the lettered title and plate number in the text field.
Size: (sheet) 10.5 x 11.9 cm
Letter below the image borderline: (left) “80.”; (centre) “Insatiabili fame Erisichtonem torquet Fames.”
Bartsch XVII.151.717; Cicognara 4749; Brunet 695; Graesse VI(2).49; Funck 399; Henkel-Illustrierte Augsbagen von Ovid's Metamorphosen in Bibl. Warburg Vorträge 1926, p. 60

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 80; Ceres seated in her chariot at centre, gesturing towards Fames, seated naked on the ground to right; with Fames appearing in Erysichthon's bed chamber behind to left. 1606 Etching” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1542986&partId=1&searchText=+X,3.194&page=1)  

The Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art offers a slightly different reading of this print:Ceres' Nymph Telling Famine to Strike Erysichthon” (http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/402173) and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco offer this insight: “A nymph in a chariot speaks to Famine, a skinny nude woman.” (https://art.famsf.org/antonio-tempesta/insatiabili-fame-erisichtonem-torquet-fames-ceres-ordering-erysicthons-punishment)

Condition: good impression with narrow margins around the image borderline. There is a light fold that is well flattened, otherwise the print is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this graphically strong early 17th century illustration to “Ovid’s Metamorphosis” by one of the most famous printmakers of the period for the total cost of AU$157 (currently US$120.70/EUR113.61/GBP96.68 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this small but visually arresting print from the late Renaissance era, 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 who may be unfamiliar with the story behind this illustration, I wish to offer a third version and a slightly different one to those offered by the BM and the Met cited earlier.
On the far left side of the image is shown a figure who might appear to be resting comfortably in bed being attended to by a naked and very skinny lady with her hair blowing in the breeze. The resting figure is Erysichthon (aka Erisichthon) who is the son of the mythological Greek King of Thessaly, Triopas, and the lady who seems to be attending to his every need is Fames (aka Famine). Now that I have introduced the mythological folk I will explain what has led up to this seemingly delightful bedroom view—which of course is far from the truth.

Erysichthon, the chap shown in the bed, had an evil streak. Before he lay down on the bed, he had rashly ordered his men to fell all the trees in Demeter’s sacred grove—I don’t know why but no doubt he had personal reasons. This was not the end of his folly as when his team of lumberjacks refused to cut down the most sacred of all the trees—an oak tree festooned with votive wreaths representing every prayer that Demeter had granted—(to quote from Wikipedia) he “grabbed an axe and cut it down himself, killing a dryad nymph in the process.”

As retribution for Erysichton’s unconscionable act of sacred tree clearing, Ceres (or one of her nymph helpers), shown in the centre of the illustration aboard a chariot pulled by dragons, advises Fames to dwell in Erysichton’s entrails. In her new abode, Fames sets about tormenting Erusichton with hunger leading him to gnaw away upon his body until there was nothing left.

If I may now return to the portrayed bedroom scene, close examination reveals the moment wherein Fames enters the soon to be hideously consumed Eryschton by a breath of air from her mouth.






Monday, 13 February 2017

Aegidius Sadeler II’s etching, “Wooded Landscape with a Hunter”


Aegidius Sadeler II (1570/75–1629) “Wooded Landscape with a Hunter” (TIB title) also “Forest landscape with wooden bridge” (Rijksmuseum title), 1609, after a drawing in the Louvre by Roelant Savery (1576–1639)
From the series “Six Mountainous Landscapes in Tyrol”
Etching with engraving on fine17th century laid paper with a shield watermark 
Size: (sheet) 19.2 x 26.2 cm

Inscribed within the image at lower-left “Rou. S. In.” State I (of II) (Note that the impression has been trimmed to the borderline. Consequently, the text line with the publisher’s attribution of “Marco Sadeler excudit” that defines the second state cannot be established. Nevertheless, based on the crispness and richness of the impression I propose that this would be a very early impression suggesting the first state.
Bartsch (72, Part 2 Supplement) 7201.238 S1; Nagler 1835–52. No. 229; Le Blanc, nos. 190–203; Wurzbach, no. 107; Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 230; Piccin, no. 108

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
“Forest landscape with wooden bridge and single travellers. City in the distance. Sixth picture of a six-part series of mountain landscapes of Tyrol.” (http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.167931)

Condition: crisp, strong, richly inked impression, trimmed to a thread margin at the borderline of the image. It is an early impression with paper loss and restoration of the upper-left corner, general dustiness appropriate to the age of the print, two closed tears near the top borderline and minor breaks/nicks to the edges.

I am selling this extremely rare original print for a total cost of AU$458 (currently US$350.86/EUR330.86/GBP280.07 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this museum quality etching, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make your payment easy.

This print has been sold



This museum quality early impression by Aegidius Sadeler II is rare. In fact it is so rare that even the British Museum does not have a copy. Fortunately the Rijkesmuseum holds a copy of it: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.167931

To my eyes it is a remarkable image and the composition is worth close examination. Note, for instance, the visual echo of the forked tree effectively “holding” one of its fallen limbs in the foreground with the rickety bridge supported by a mid-stream rocky outcrop in the middle distance. Note also the parallel grouping of the most striking angles in the composition. For example, the tilted angle of the forked tree is shown at the same angle as the large limb of the tree on the right.





Frederic Bloemaert’s engraving after Abraham Bloemaert from “Het Tekenboek”


Frederic Bloemaert (1610–69) after Abraham Bloemaert (1564–1651) from “Het Tekenboek” (Artistic drawing book)
“Plate 130: Study of three heads, one wearing a turban, and a hand”, 1650–56
Engraving on fine laid paper and margins as published.
Size: (sheet)  30.6 x 19.7 cm; (plate) 20 x 14.8 cm; (image borderline) 19.1 x 14.2 cm.
Inscribed in the lower-right corner with the plate number: “130”
Roethlisberger 1993; Hollstein 186–231 (Frederik Bloemaert); Hollstein 94–213 (prints after Abraham Bloemaert).

Condition: crisp and well-inked impression with full margins and binding holes on the left (as published). There is age-toning/darkening towards the edges, light surface dustiness, a few minor spots and signs of use such as light pencil marks from the former life of the print as a teaching aid; otherwise the sheet is in good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing).

I am selling this spectacularly beautiful engraving showing the highest order of technical skill for AU$93 (currently US$71.28/EUR66.94/GBP56.93 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this early plate from one of the most famous books created for artists to copy, 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


This print is from one of the most famous and earliest instructional books on drawing designed for artists: “Het Tekenboek”, first published in the mid-1600s. I am uncertain which edition of the book this print is from, but clearly this is an early impression. The reason that I can arrive at such a determination is simple: the lines are crisp indicating that the printing plate is fresh (i.e. it has no sign of wear). Moreover, the paper has the tell-tale attribute of an early print: chain-lines (i.e. watermark-like lines which can be seen when laid paper is held up to a light revealing widely-spaced lines—the chain-lines—intersecting at 90 degrees with narrowly-spaced lines—the laid lines) signifying a paper created before machine-made paper (i.e. wove paper that was purportedly first manufactured in 1807).

Mindful that there are impressions in the reverse direction to the original designs, again, I am not certain if this is a mirror impression or not. What I am certain about is that this impression was undoubtedly taken from a plate engraved by Frederic. The reason for my certainty is easy to see: the image is engraved by the hand of a master showing exquisite use of cross-hatching, especially the famous “dotted lozenge”, in modelling light and shade in a fluid way.

Interestingly, the fluidity of this tonal treatment is a hallmark of the Utrecht Mannerists, like Hendrik Goltzius and Bartholomaus Spranger, who cast a strong influence over the Bloemaerts’ workshop. Of course, my judgement may be misguided and I look forward to comments from historians with information regarding the likely edition of this particular impression.






Saturday, 11 February 2017

Albert Flamen’s etching, “Querquedula. Cercelle” (The Teal)


Albert Flamen (aka Albert Flamand; Albert Flaman; Aellert Flamen; Bartolet) (1620-1692)
“Querquedula. Cercelle” (The Teal), 17th century (Note: The British Museum dates this print between1635–69 and the Rijksmuseum dates it between 1648–92), from the series of 12 plates, “Livre d'Oiseaux” (A Book of Birds)

Etching (with engraving and drypoint?) on laid paper with margins.
Size: (sheet) 15.1 x 25.1 cm: (plate) 10 x 20.5 cm
Inscribed within the image: (lower left) “AB Flamen Sc.”
Lettered below the image borderline: (centre) “Querquedula. Cercette.”

Bartsch (1980) 6 (5). 83 (183) (p. 296); Robert-Dumesnil 1835-71 V.201.404 (Le peintre-graveur français, ou catalogue raisonné des estampes gravées par les peintres et les dessinateurs de l'école française : ouvrage faisant suite au peintre-graveur de Bartsch, Georges Duplessis, A.P.F. Robert-Dumesnil, p. 201, cat.nr. 404)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Four teals on a large river, another one plunging and a sixth one flying off, reed-mace in the lower left corner, some houses in the background to the left, a tower in the background to the right; from a series of twelve prints showing birds. Etching” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1665149&partId=1&searchText=flamen+teal&page=1) see also the description offered by the Rijksmuseum (http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.110098)  

Condition: crisp impression in near pristine condition.

I am selling this rare etching by Flamen for AU$134 (currently US$102.86/EUR96.77/GBP82.41 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable 17th century study of ducks print by an artist famed for emblem prints with unforgettable titles (see a sample of titles in the discussion of this print), 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


I can easily understand why collectors are passionate about Flamen’s prints, especially his emblem prints, as some of their titles are so inviting to contemplate. For example:

- “Man attacked by ball-shaped animal” (TiB 0608.415);
- “Man surprised by cone-shaped meteor” (TiB 0608.417);
- “Two figures asleep in moonlight with swarming bees” (TiB 0608.426);
- “Birds resting on the heads of three men at a banquet” (TiB 0608.229);
- “Caterpillars dropping on man under tree” (TiB 0608.418);
- “Nude counting drops of blood” (TiB 0608.270);
- “Monstrous fish on tree branch in moonlight” ((TiB 0608.465);
(Note: For those wishing to see the relevant prints, the bracketed references show the catalogue raisonné numbers in “The Illustrated Bartsch” [1986] vol. 6 [commentary])

After reading these title I can imagine that Flamen's wit must have made him popular at parties. Sadly, his personal life is a bit of a mystery as there is no documentary evidence to pin point the date or his place of birth. Nevertheless, his surname is Flemish and I understand that a few of his early drawings substantiate this idea. Interestingly, CJ Nagler in “Küstler-Lexicon” proposes that Flamen (or at least “a certain A. Flamand”) was “a draughtsman and painter of landscapes who worked … [in the manufacture] of goblins c. 1650” (vol. 5, p. 25). This information about his possible day-job makes the vision of the world captured in his prints completely feasible. I love the idea of Flamen constructing goblins!

When I was looking through Flamen’s prints I came across his vision of the New Guinea’s most famous bird that I have previously discussed in relation to Ridinger’s “Paradise” suite of etchings. Although he did more than one print of it (viz. “Bird of Paradise” [TIB 0608.324] and “Two Birds of Paradise” [TIB 0608.206]) the verses inscribed on the plates reveal the fascinating misconception of the time that these birds never landed on earth—“Unaware of contamination on earth”—but flew forever in the heavenly realm and even raised their chicks on their backs—“My nest is the body of the one I love” (see TIB pp. 266 & 326). In short, there is a storehouse of 17th century beliefs, customs and ways of thinking waiting to be explored in Flamen’s prints. He is an amazing artist!

Regarding Flamen’s approach to making prints, according to Nagler: “Flamen first etched his sheets and then finished them lightly and delicately with the burin and in drypoint, in the manner of Hollar” (ibid).