Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Peter von Bemmel’s etching, “The draftsman at the waterfall”, 1716


Peter von Bemmel (1685–1754)

“The draftsman at the waterfall”, 1716, published by Heinrich Jonas Ostertag (fl.1711–20) in Regensburg.

Etching on laid paper trimmed at the image borderline and re-margined with a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 32.4 x 33.8 cm; (sheet/image borderline) 14 x18.6 cm
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline at upper left corner: “P. V. Bemel fe,” Note: the “m” in the inscribed signature has a macron (i.e. a diacritical overbar) that I suspect signifies the lengthened sound of the double “m” now used in wiriting Von Bemmel’s name. (I may be wrong about this.)

Meyer 1872-85 4 (Julius Meyer et al 1872–85, “Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon, unter Mitwirkung der namhaftesten Fachgelehrten des In- und Auslandes”, vol. III, Leipzig, Wilhelm Engelmann)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Mountainous landscape with a waterfall. 1716 Etching”

Condition: a richly inked impression trimmed at the image borderline and re-margined on a support sheet. The print is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains or foxing). (Note: I “think” that I recall a small restoration but I cannot find this spot and so I am not sure.)

I am selling this graphically strong etching showing and artist at work in a rugged landscape carved by waterfalls for AU$219 (currently US$174.43/EUR142.39/GBP125.06 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in acquiring this extremely rare etching from the founder of the younger Nuremberg landscape painting school, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Mindful that the artist’s nickname was “thunderstorm” because he liked showing the delights of lightning bolts smashing into trees and travellers getting soaked in the rain—the shameful pleasure in showing folk getting wet brings to mind the marvellous German word for such dreadful humour: “Schadenfreude”—I can see how this scene of nature’s awesome might fits well with Von Bemmel’s disposition.

What makes this landscape so special to my eyes goes beyond the display of raging water carving its way through the rugged terrain. I see the pictorial depth of this landscape as being slightly flattened as if each spatial zone were a stage flat assembled to describe the view like theatrical scenery. For example the silhouette edge of the sloping mountainside in the middle distance on the right is strongly demarked but with a void of noetic space (i.e. a gap of pictorially “empty” white paper but pregnant with imagined subject matter) in the immediate background behind it. Note in particular how the artist has darkened the portrayed forms at their edges.







Monday, 22 January 2018

Abraham Genoels’ etching, “Rest in Egypt”, c.1680


Abraham Genoels (aka Archimedes; Abraham Genoels II; Abraham Genoel; A. G.) (1640–1723)

“Rest in Egypt” (Le Repos en Egypte) (TIB title), 1675–91

Note that I have listed the pendent for this print executed by Felix Meyer (after Abraham Genoels) in the earlier post: http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2016/10/felix-meyers-etching-after-abraham.html

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed within the platemark and lined with a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 30.7 x 33.4 cm; (sheet) 14.5 x19 cm

TIB 5 (4). 10 (328) (Walter L Strauss [Ed.] 1979, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 5, Abaris Books, New York, p. 301); Bartsch IV.328.10 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna); Regnault-Delalande 1817 148.10 (F-L Regnault-Delalande 1817, “Catalogue Raisonné des Estampes du Cabinet de M le Comte Rigal”, Paris, chez l'auteur); Weigel 1843 undescribed (Rudolph Weigel 1843, “Suppléments au Peintre-Graveur de Adam Bartsch”, Vol.I, Leipzig, Rudolph Weigel);  Hollstein 10 (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam, p. 98)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The Rest on the Flight into Egypt. The Holy Family resting under a large tree in the centre, a sarcophagus next to a river to the left, two pyramids to the right, several architectural blocks and bushes in the foreground, palm trees and Egyptian temples in the background; in an oval” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1667427&partId=1&searchText=egypt&people=123852&page=1); see also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.116287

Condition: crisp and well-inked impression trimmed to the oval image borderline and re-margined on a support sheet. The sheet shows signs of use (i.e. it is slightly mottled in colouring and there is a spot on the upper left just within the borderline), but there are no tears, holes, folds or significant abrasions.

I am selling this luminous print for AU$208 (currently US$166.63/EUR135.98/GBP119.86 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in purchasing this very rare etching by Genoels (mindful that all etchings by this highly sought after artist are rare), please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.



In earlier posts focused on Genoels' etchings I proposed that his line work has the attribute of “openness” (i.e. he leaves quite large gaps between each line) and that he renders trees with rounded strokes resulting in the trees’ foliage having a rather “fluffy look.”

In this etching, I think my former proposals about his stylistic leanings are still valid—thank goodness! One feature of Genoels' style that I have not commented on previously is his choice to feature remnants of a classical past. Here, I am not only referring to the curiously very pointed pyramids in the far distance, but also to the tomb/sarcophagus in the centre of the composition and the rubble of architectural bits in the immediate foreground.

Of course the featured pyramids were necessary additions to the scene as they locate the flight of the holy family to Egypt to escape the edict of King Herod to kill the male infants. The featured tomb, however, has less to do with the biblical narrative and a lot to do with the 17th century landscape tradition of crafting scenes with architectural references to antiquity.







Sunday, 21 January 2018

Jan Martsen’s etching “Three cavalrymen engaged in close combat”, c1640


Jan Martsen (aka Jan Martsz. de Jonghe; Jan Marsse; Jan Maertsen; Jan de Jonge Martszen) (1609–1647/8)

“Three cavalrymen engaged in close combat” (BM descriptive title [see S.5000), c1640 (note: the Rijksmuseum propose dates between 1619 and 1649 and the British Museum propose dates between 1630 and 1650), plate 2 from the series, “Cavalry Battles”, most likely published by Claes Jansz. Visscher (1587–1652).


Etching on fine laid paper trimmed close to the image borderline with a collector’s stamp verso.
Size: (sheet) 11.7 x 17.8 cm
Lettered in lower right corner "2 / M.D.Jonge.fe"
State ii (of ii?) See a copy of the first and second states at the Rijksmuseum: (unlettered first state) http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.collect.150215  and (lettered second state) http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.collect.150216

Hollstein 2-2 (3) (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450–1700”, Amsterdam)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Three cavalrymen engaged in close combat; on the ground lies a dead soldier and a discarded pistol.”

Condition: crisp and strong impression trimmed at the image borderline in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this small and very rare print exemplifying the spirit for dramatic battle scenes by Dutch printmakers in the early 1600s for AU$218 (currently US$174.5/EUR142.72/GBP125.94 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in purchasing this fascinating etching offering an insight into early combat on horseback, 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


One of the key principles of composition is to use an odd number of subjects. The reason for this principle in art is the same as the principle of choosing an odd number of people for a committee: in committee meetings odd numbers of committee members allow for clear resolutions to be passed and, in the case of art, odd numbers of subjects allow for a single centre of interest.

In this battle scene, for example, the composition is structured around the three figures on horseback at the centre of the scene with the figure wearing a cuirass in the middle of the three figures catching the viewer’s eye as the centre-of-interest. Interestingly, this middle figure holds the composition and the action of the scene together in a literal way. After all he is about to defend himself with his rapier against the attack of the figure on the right while the figure on the left thrusts a pistol into his chest.

Regarding the compositional arrangement of the middle figure as the centre-of-interest, note how the abandoned pistol shown at the lower right corner “points” towards the centre figure, as do the rear legs of the horse on the left, the tail of the centre figure’s horse and the reins held by the figure on the right. Going further, note also how the angle of the raised sword held by the distant figure on the far left continues the line of the pistol thrust into the centre figure’s chest. 







Saturday, 20 January 2018

Sébastien Leclerc’s etching, “Battle of the Granicus River”, 1696


Sébastien Leclerc I (aka Sébastien Le Clerc) (1637–1714)

“Battle of the Granicus River” (aka “La Vertu surmonte tout obstacle” [Virtue surmounts every obstacle]), 1696, from the series, “Les Batailles d'Alexandre”, after the painting by Charles Le Brun (1619–90), published by Nicolas I Langlois (1640–1703)

Etching with engraving on laid paper trimmed to the image borderline with a tab showing the printmaker’s name, lined with a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 28.7 x 38.7 cm; (sheet, without tab) 11.4 x 24 cm

Jombert 1774 257.2 (Charles-Antoine Jombert 1774, “Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre de Sébastien Leclerc, chevalier romain”, 2 vol, Paris); IFF 459.IV (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Battle of the Granicus River, with Alexander the Great on horseback at centre, behind him Cleitus brandishing his axe to save him from a Persian enemy, beyond at left the army crossing the river” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1627600&partId=1&searchText=Leclerc+battle&page=1)

Condition: a crisp and well-inked impression, trimmed along the image borderline and re-margined on a support sheet. The print is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing). (Note: I “think” that I recall a small restoration but I cannot find this spot and so I am not sure.)

I am selling this superlatively fine etching for AU$118 (currently US$94.45/EUR77.25/GBP68.17 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in acquiring this sensitively executed and technically superb print from the late 17th century, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This composition of Alexander the Great in battle with the Persians at the Granicus River in 334 BC was famously painted by Charles Le Brun (1619–90) to draw parallels between the virtues of Alexander and Louis XIV. Indeed if one looks closely at Leclerc’s etched translation of Le Brun’s painting (actually a loupe may be necessary as the details are so fine) and focuses on the image of Alexander shown on horseback at the centre, Alexander’s face has a soft likeness to that of the Sun King: Louis XIV.

Although this is a relatively small print—and I must add here that I am pleased that it is not any smaller or the details would need to be examined through a microscope—there is a much larger version of Le Brun’s painting engraved by Gérard Audran’s (aka Girard Audran) (1640–1703). To say that Audran’s print is larger is not really the full truth. His print is HUGE! It is printed on four sheets measuring in total, 70 x 137.6 cm: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Granicus#/media/File:Crossing_of_the_Granicus,_G%C3%A9rard_Audran_after_Charles_Le_Brun,_1672.jpg



Louis XIV portrayed as Alexander the Great?





Friday, 19 January 2018

Alexandre Lelue’s lithograph, “Crépuscule”, c1925


Alexandre Lelue (aka Alexandre Félix Lelue) (1871–1937)

“Crépuscule” (twilight), c1925 based on a similar lithograph with the same title by Lelue; see: https://www.ebay.fr/itm/Dessin-lithographie-alexandre-leleu-/142655988187?hash=item2136f5a1db (note that this is an auction site and so the link is temporary).

Lithograph on cream chine-collé on heavy wove paper with wide margins lined with a support sheet, signed by the artist and inscribed that it is an artist’s proof (preuve d'artiste).
Size: (sheet) 25 x 32.2 cm; (chine-collé) 13.1 x 20 cm; (image borderline) 11.5 x 18.6 cm
Inscribed in pencil below the image borderline: (left) ‘“Crépuscule” preuve d'artiste.’; (right) artist’s signature: “Alexandre Lelau”
Inscribed in pencil at the lower right corner: “5” and what is most likely a collector’s note “Alexandre Lelue / Vicoigne (Nord) 1871”
Lifetime, artist’s proof (i.e. an impression taken before the edition).

Condition: a faultless hand-signed impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this exceptionally romantic lithograph steeped in the quietly poetic mood of early evening for AU$97 (currently US$77.74/EUR63.43/GBP56.08 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in purchasing this twilight scene in its proof state, hand-signed by the artist, 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 see Lelue’s point to choose lithography as his graphic medium for this particular image as it projects an almost tactile graininess to the portrayed scene of twilight. If Leleu had chosen etching as his medium, he would have no doubt succeeded in capturing the phenomenon of fading light, but I envisage that the outcome may have expressed complex mystery and secretive life in the shadows resulting from a layering of etched line necessary to achieve deep blacks. With lithography, however, the “mystery” evoked by the depth of layered etched lines in shadow is replaced with a gauze-like translucence that keeps the mind from penetrating the surface effect. In short, I believe that Lelue wanted the viewer to experience feelings that could best be described as a screen of melancholy: a feeling of hushed quiet where horizontal and vertical strokes connote a solemn mood.



Thursday, 18 January 2018


Master of the Die (fl.1522–33) (purported by the “Benezit Dictionary of Artists” [2005] to be Bernardo Daddi [fl.c.1530–60], but the BM also argues that the artist may be Tommaso Vincidor [1493–1536])

“Apollo and Marsyas” (TIB title), c.1530, after Raphael (1483–1520), published by Philippe Thomassin (1562–1622) and later by Giovanni Jacopo Rossi (aka Giovanni Iacomo de Rubeis; Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi; Jo Jacobus de Rubeis; Giovanni Jacomo de' Rossi) (1627–91) as lettered on the plate.

Engraving on laid paper with margins lined with a support sheet
Size: (sheet) 22.2 x 33.2 cm; (plate) 19 x 29.2 cm; (image borderline) 18.7 x 28.8 cm
Lettered on plate along the lower edge: “Romae apud Philippum Thomassinu RAPHAEL VRB. INV. Gio Iacomo Rossi formis alla Pace” and artist's monogram “B” on dice at right.
State iii (of iii?) with the addition of the address of Giovanni Jacopo Rossi as the publisher.

Note: based on the BM’s bibliographical details for the publisher, Giovanni Jacopo Rossi, his address after c1680 was “Rome, alla Pace all'insegna di Parigi” which is the same address inscribed (in part) on this print: “alla Pace”. This means that the publication date for this impression was between c1680 and his death in 1691.

TIB 29 (15). 31(206) (Suzanne Boorsch [Ed.] 1982, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century”, vol. 29, Abaris Books, New York, p.188); Bartsch XV.206.31 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, vol. 15, Vienna)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print (state ii):
“Naked Apollo seated at the right with a lyre on his right knee, pointing to a kneeling man [who] takes a knife from a box to flay Marsyas who is tied naked to a tree at left”

Condition: very crisp, richly inked and well-printed impression with margins (varying but approximately 2 cm wide). The sheet has been laid upon an archival support sheet and there is an area of restored abrasion, otherwise the print is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, significant stains or foxing).

I am selling this engraving of the utmost rarity by the 16th century printmaker whose work is signed with a symbol of a dice—hence the artist’s descriptive title, “Master of the Die”—for AU$388 (currently US$310.13/EUR253.28/GBP223.58 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this superb print from the Renaissance era exemplifying the interest at the time for classical mythology, 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 unfamiliar with the mythological story that this scene illustrates, I need to offer a quick word of warning: this is a gruesome tale. Let me begin…

The chap tied to the tree on the left is Marsyas who was so full of pride with his musical ability that he unwisely challenged the god, Apollo, shown holding a lute to the right of centre, to a music competition judged by the Muses—goddesses responsible for artistic inspiration. Being confident with his ability to win, Marsyas agreed to the terms of the competition that the winner could do what they wished to the loser. Needless to say, Apollo won and chose to have Marsyas flayed as his prize. Hence this scene portrays Apollo giving instructions to have Marsyas skinned alive.

Moving beyond this hideous story, I thought I might draw attention to a few important details that might not be noticed in a casual glance.

Note how the artist has shaded the background immediately behind the architectural feature at the centre of the composition: on the lit side of this structure, the background is darkened; on the shadow side of the structure, the background is lightened. This simple but useful visual device was later used extensively by Georges Seurat.

Note the treatment of the tree limb immediately above the tied hands of Marsyas and how the artist has changed the angle of the curved contour lines so that some of the limbs project forward while others lean back.

As a final feature to examine, note the very odd form of the vegetation lump shown forward of where Apollo is seated. To my eyes this lump—I am really not certain about its constituent parts—is almost like the form of a snail with contoured strokes giving the impression of animation. Very strange!







Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Roelant Roghman’s etching, “River and Rocks”, 1650–83


Roelant Roghman (aka Roeland Roghman) (c1620–1686)

“River and Rocks” (Le quartier de rocher) (TIB title), 1650–83, plate 2 from the series of eight plates, “Views of Italy” (TIB) (aka “Tyrolean landscapes” [Rijksmuseum]), published in Augsburg in the edition by Melchior Küsel (1626-83) or the later edition by Jeremias Wolff (1663–1724). (Note: I am unable to determine which edition this impression is from because the text line with the critical inscribed plate number that acts as a guide to the edition has been trimmed off but the impression is very crisp suggesting an early printing.)

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed unevenly along the image borderline and lined with a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 31 x 40.8 cm; (unevenly trimmed sheet) 12.9 x 24.9 cm
Condition: a crisp and well-inked impression, trimmed along the image borderline and re-margined on a support sheet. The print is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing).

TIB 5 (4).26 (32) (Walter L Strauss & Franklin Robinson [Eds.] 1979, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 5, p. 39); Bartsch IV.32.26; Hollstein 26

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
“View of a mountain landscape with rocks in Tyrol. In the foreground two shepherds with a dog. On the water a goat and in the background a horse-drawn full load cart. Print from a series of eight prints with Tyrolean landscapes.” (http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.480369); see also the description at the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1623746&partId=1&searchText=roghman+mountain&page=1

I am selling this superb impression of an extremely rare print from the time of Rembrandt—Roghman was even one of Rembrandt’s good friends—for AU$338 (currently US$269.32/EUR220.66/GBP195.41 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost. 

If you are interested in purchasing this spectacular etching—one of Roghman’s masterpieces—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 about its purchase


One of the interesting aspects of scanning prints like this is that tiny details are revealed that might otherwise go unnoticed. For instance, the seated figure featured in the foreground at right is not just compositional staffage (i.e. a figure sitting there for no deep and meaningful reason). This figure is an artist drawing! Now that I see what the figure is “doing” the meaning of the whole composition changes. I now see the image in terms of being like a visual essay expressing Roghman’s vision of the sublime rather than “just another rocky landscape.” My change in thinking is generated by the diminutive size of the artist compared to the gargantuan boulder that the artist faces and what seems to me to be a very intentional arrangement of the composition to connote the vastness of space of which the figure is tiny part. The more that I look at the other details the more that this realisation grows. Roghman is engaging in a deep contemplation of how tiny mankind is in the big picture of the natural world: the wilderness. Note, for example, the difference in scale between the horse-drawn cart in the centre of the composition—the middle distance—and the surrounding trees in the same area.