Monday, 20 February 2017

Manchon’s engraving, “The Charging Chasseur”, after Géricault

Gaston Albert Manchon (1855–1951; fl.1883–1900 according to Engen)
“The Charging Chasseur” (Officier de chasseurs à cheval de la garde impériale chargeant) (aka “An Officer of the Imperial Horse Guards Charging” and “Equestrian portrait of Lieutenant Dieudonné”), c.1880, after Théodore Géricault’s (1791–1834) painting dated 1812 and exhibited in the Salon of the same year (see

Engraving on light tan wove paper, stamped No. 47, hand-signed in pencil by Manchon with three remarque studies below the image borderline: at the lower left are two lightly engraved studies after Géricault and at the lower centre is a portrait of Géricault after a drawing executed in 1816 by Alexandre-Marie Colin (1798–1873) and a lithograph by Geillet executed in 1824.
Size: (sheet) 63 x 50 cm; (indistinct plate-mark) approx. 55.5 x 42 cm; (image borderline) 46.6 x 36.2 cm

Condition: An exceptionally large and superb remarque-proof impression of the utmost rarity hand-signed in pencil by the engraver. The sheet is lightly age-toned with minor handling marks but generally in excellent condition.

I am selling this magnificently executed engraving of one of Géricault’s most famous paintings for a total cost of AU$196 (currently US$150.41/EUR141.53/GBP120.58 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this large and visually arresting engraving, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. (Note that this is a large print and will be rolled in a tube for shipping)

This engraving of the equestrian portrait painted by Géricault, “The Charging Chasseur”, is as huge as the image of the dashing Lieutenant Alexandre Dieudonné with his cutlass in hand summonsing up support from the troops behind him (or whatever a chap does when turning around on a rearing horse in a battle) is famous. Mindful that there is a lot of easily accessed information about Géricault’s famous painting, I have decided to discuss something that often goes unnoticed in a remarque-proof impression like this: the tiny sketches engraved below the image borderline.

These lightly inscribed engraved drawings, called “remarques”, have been described as an engraver’s test drawings before working on the main image and as such they are later burnished away before the formal edition is printed for publication. Although this makes for a good story, these drawings are not arbitrary doodles of experimentation. Of course there are always exceptions to any generalisation and no doubt there have been artists who do use the outside border to make tiny sketches to hone their skills, but for the majority of artists who make “special” prints—remarque proofs—with these lightly drawn sketches the reason is simple: the tiny drawings are there to make money.

Arguably the first artist (another bold generalisation) to print these special remarque proofs was Whistler who perceived a market for collectors willing to pay extra for a print that was uniquely different to those of the standardised published editions.

Certainly by the late 1800s the use of remarques in the margins of prints was a well-established practice as the famous French artist/printmaker, Félix Bracquemond, explains to the equally famous artist/printmaker/publisher, Loÿs Delteil:

“To-day Monsieur Delteil, we have another remarque which recently came into vogue,—I do not quite know when, thought I have frequently engraved one. …a tiny etching or engraving in the lower margin which is thereafter referred to as the remarque, all proofs bearing it being termed “remarque proofs.” …It is neither an incident nor an accident. …The remarque is in fact an imbroglio and I have never really discovered what purpose it serves, although I have engraved many for a commission…” (Extract from the preface (n.p.) in Loys Delteil & Harold JL Wright 1907, “Charles Meryon: Catalogue Raisonné of the Etchings”).

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” (

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 ( 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 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 ( 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

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’” ( and “Charles Meryon’s etching, ‘Bain-froid Chevrier’” (

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” (,+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.” (,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 ( 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” ( 

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 ( 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” (  

This print has been sold

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” (   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.” (

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” ( 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

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 ( 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” (,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” ( and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco offer this insight: “A nymph in a chariot speaks to Famine, a skinny nude woman.” (

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 ( 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.” (

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 ( 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:

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.