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.







Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Aegidius Sadeler II’s etching, “Landscape with a man crossing a bridge”, c1600


Aegidius Sadeler II (aka Gillis Sadeler; Egidius Sadeler; Ægedius Sadeler) (c1570–1629)

“Landscape with a man crossing a bridge” (TIB title), 1586–1629, published in the first state by Jacobus Lutma (1624? - 1654), published in the second state by Abraham Lutma (fl. 1650), published in the third state with this impression by Nicolaes Visscher I (1618-1679).

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed close to the image borderline and lined with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet, including the support-sheet cradle) 31 x 35 cm; (sheet, unevenly trimmed) 12.7 x 18.2 cm; (image borderline) 12.3 x 18.1 cm
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Egidies Sadeler fecit”; (centre) “Vißcher excudit”
State iii (of iii)

TIB 1997 7201.212 S3 (Isabelle de Ramaix, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 72, Part 2, Supplement, p. 3); Hollstein 1980 42.202 (F W H Hollstein 1954–2010, Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts”. vols. 1–64, Amsterdam, cat. no. XXI.42.202); Limouze 1990, pp. 108, 197 (Dorothy A Limouze “Aegidius Sadeler [c. 1570–1629]: Drawings, Prints and the Development of an Art Theoretical Attitude,” in Prag um 1600: Beiträge zur Kunst und Kultur am Hofe Rudolfs II, Freren, pp. 183–92).
See also the (brief) description of the first state of this print offered by the Metropolitan Museum of Art: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/717288

Condition: a superb, crisp and well-printed impression trimmed close to the image borderline. The sheet has been re-margined with an archival support sheet.

I am selling this early etching executed by one of the most famous of the old masters for AU$312 (currently US$247.99/EUR202.68/GBP180.28 at the time of this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in acquiring this very beautiful print exemplifying the romantic notion of landscape in the late 16th 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


Aegidius Sadeler’s landscapes are understandable highly sought after and the reason is fairly clear with this print: they offer a romantic vision of landscape seemingly designed to refresh the soul. Not only do they feature water, rock and lush greenery—albeit with a palette of greens that the viewer’s brain must “fill in”—but they also show folk engaged in going places: usually Sadeler’s prints have at least two figures travelling in opposing directions.

Sadly, the genius behind these landscapes is not always easy to identify. Of course, in the case of this print, there should be a no doubt that the artist MUST be Aegidius Sadeler; after all, his name is inscribed on the plate. If only the attribution of prints were as simple as believing what is written. Shamefully, artists do not always tell the full truth. Indeed, I was reading Isabelle de Ramaix’s second volume of commentary on Aegidius Sadeler in “The Illustrated Bartsch” catalogue raisonné and discovered that this print may be modelled on drawings by Isaac Major (an artist discussed in earlier post). To be honest I won’t be surprised if future research also points a crooked finger towards the compositions of Pieter Stevens II as this was another artist that Aegidius Sadeler copied. 






Monday, 15 January 2018

A collection of four etchings of rams’ heads after Karel Dujardin, c1600s


Unidentified 17th century printmaker from the circle of Karel Dujardin (aka Karel Du Jardin; Carel Dujardin; Carel du Jardin; Bokkebaart) (1626–1678)

Note: the attribution of the date is based on the descriptions of the lower-left print offered by the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco and the Auckland Art Gallery: https://art.famsf.org/karel-dujardin/rams-head-19633014622 and https://www.aucklandartgallery.com/explore-art-and-ideas/artwork/9304/two-heads-of-sheep    
“Studies of rams' heads” (descriptive title only), 1600s, a collection of four individual etchings after Karel Dujardin's designs, printed from the original plates and published by W Lewis for "A Collection of Two Hundred Original Etchings" (1819–22), London (see page/sheet 157).

Etchings on fine wove paper trimmed within the platemark and lined with an archival support sheet.
Size: (sheet, including the support-sheet cradle) 38.5 x 52.3 cm; (sheets, unevenly trimmed and varying slightly) 9.7 x 17.5 cm
Each plate inscribed (with variations): “Karel Du Jardin inventor”

Condition: the sheets are all trimmed within the platemarks (as published by W Lewis) and re-margined as a collection on a single archival support sheet. Each sheet was originally corner glued to a backing sheet (now removed) but the glue stains are now minimal.

I am selling this visually stunning collection of four etchings for AU$440 (currently US$350.37/EUR285.17/GBP253.91 at the time of this listing). Postage for this large sheet of prints is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in acquiring these marvellous studies, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Although the artist who made these etchings would have had Dujardin’s original drawings at hand for close scrutiny, the process of transcribing a drawing into a print can easily erase important attributes of the original artist’s style.

For example, Dujardin is noted for his ability to bundle his strokes in a manner suggesting washes of tone with the aim of simplifying the portrayed subject to its essential form. In these translations of his work, however, I note that the "bundling" of strokes is more about superficial mimetic description of the portrayed subjects' surface contours.

Another difference that I see—and I may be alone in my perception of this difference—is that Dujardin captures a more luminescent light quality than is exhibited here. What I mean by “luminescent light” is that Dujardin will use stippling (i.e. dots) and vertical flicks to suggest shimmering light on those parts of an animal that are in the strongest light. He will also use long, curved strokes in shadows to suggest that even in the darkest regions of the subject there is “life”. By contrast, in these etchings the highlights are just highlights (i.e. tonally lighter aspects of the subject) and the shadows—although glowing with reflected light—the treatment seems to be more about representing how surfaces “dissolve” in darkness than with visually hinting at the energy of a latent inner life force.









Sunday, 14 January 2018

A niello manner engraving from the circle of Marcantonio Raimondi, “The Man of Sorrows”, c1475


Unidentified 15th century Florentine engraver from the circle of Marcantonio Raimondi (1480–1534)

“The Man of Sorrows”, c1470–1480, printed before 1826. The original silver and gold plate is held by the British Museum; see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1404839&partId=1&searchText=1845,0825.12&page=1

Note: Baron Dominique Vivant Denon (1747–1825) (aka Vivant Denon) discusses this plate in his 1826 essay focused on 15th century goldsmiths’ engraved nielli, “Essai sur les nielles, gravures des orfevres florentins du 15.e siecle; par Duchesne aine” (plate 110, p. 174).

Silver and gold plate engraving printed in the niello manner on fine Japanese paper lined with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 6.3 x 6.4 cm; (hexagonal plate) 5.5 x 5.9 cm; (circular image borderline, dia.) 5.6 cm
Inscribed on Jesus Christ’s tomb: “HVMAN I GENE / RIS RE DEMTOR” (HVMANI GENERIS REDEMPTOR).

Hind 1936 26 (Arthur Mayger Hind 1936, “Nielli. Chiefly Italian of the XV Century Plates, Sulphur Casts and Prints Preserved in the British Museum”, London, BMP, p. 30, no. 26); Duchesne, 1826, no. 110
See also the description of this print at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: https://art.famsf.org/anonymous/piet%C3%A0-19633037455

Note: the FAMSF has another print by what would seem to be the same engraver and propose that the style of both prints is in the manner of Marcantonio Raimondi (1480–1534): https://art.famsf.org/anonymous/female-martyr-saint-19633037451

Condition: strong and well-printed impression on fine Japanese paper laid onto a support sheet and re-margined with archival paper. The sheet has restored breaks in the margins.

I am selling this exceptionally rare engraving, for the combined total cost of AU$220 (currently US$174.40/EUR142.88/GBP127.04 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested this engraving executed in the niello manner, 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


Before I discuss some of the problematic issues associated with niello prints, let me first outline the medieval process of making nielli.

First, a piece of metal—usually silver that has been shaped for functional purposes, such as a plate, candelabra or a similar object—is engraved. Next, an inky black amalgam of metal, sulphur and borax is heated and flooded into the engraved lines and the surplus ink (nigellum) is wiped/polished away leaving the ink only in the lines. Finally the ink is allowed to cool/set in the engraved lines.

The process that I have outlined creates a niello but this is not the same as a niello print. A niello print is created in much the same way as a traditional engraving, in the sense that before the nigellum is allowed to dry, paper is rubbed onto the printing surface to “capture” the sticky amalgam to create a niello print. Of course the difference between this manner of printing and a traditional engraving is that here the printing plate is not rolled through a press.

When examining niello prints such as this one the critical concern is whether the plate, the ink and how the print was made matches the description of the above process. Looking at this impression, for instance, I believe that this impression is far too good to have been taken from a plate without pressure, using the crude medieval ink. Accordingly, even though the impression is taken from an original plate used to make niello prints this particular impression is best described as a “niello manner” engraving.





Saturday, 13 January 2018

Adolphe Appian’s etching, “Wharf with Sail Boats on the River, Environs de Lyon”, 1879


Adolphe Appian (1818–1898)

“Wharf with Sail Boats on the River, Environs de Lyon” (aka “Environs de Lyon [Petite planche]”), 1879.

Note: Appian did two versions of this scene. The other print—“Environs de Lyon (Grande planche)—is larger and is a virtual mirror image of this composition; see the Yale University Collection: https://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/12825

Etching on fine wove paper (Japan) (Note: there are subtle differences between the Oriental papers of the 19th century and earlier. Chinese paper tends to have the imprint of the bamboo screen of its manufacture whereas the Japanese papers at this time did not. At a more fundamental level, however, the Chinese papers were generally thinner than Japanese papers. As this impression is on paper that is smooth, comparatively thick and does not exhibit an imprint of its manufacture I have described it as Japanese.)
Size: (sheet) 14.4 x 19.1 cm; (plate) 11.4 x 15.5 cm; (image borderline) 9.1 x 13.7 cm
Signed on the plate at upper left corner: “APPIAN”
Lifetime impression of the first and only state.

Curtis & Prouté 57i (Atherton Cutiis & Paul Prouté 1968, “Adolphe Appian son Oeuvre Gravé et Lithographié”, Paul Prouté, London).
See also the description of this print at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco:  https://art.famsf.org/adolphe-appian/wharf-sail-boats-river-environs-de-lyon-19633031017

Condition: a richly inked and faultless museum-quality impression in pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling). Note that this is a VERY small print.

I am selling this small and what I see as a very poetically moody print, typifying the best works of this famous artist closely connected to the Barbizon School, for the combined total cost of AU$179 (currently US$141.89/EUR116.25/GBP103.36 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested this bold and romantically 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


Appian was active as a printmaker at the height of the shift from the highly disciplined and formulaic line-work characterising the rendering style of engraving in the first half of the 19th century to the loosely laid lines characterising the renewed interest in the etchings of Rembrandt in the latter half of the century.

In this print, for instance, the rendering of the harbour scene is far from an objective view. This is a mindscape of angst and melancholy that just happens to feature a harbour scene. What I mean by this description is that Appian’s strokes with the etching needle are all about capturing an impression of what he observed looking at the sailing boats. Indeed, this impression is not only about fleeting observations as the bundling of the lines and the rhythms that they create in the composition embody the intense feelings that he seems to have experienced.







Friday, 12 January 2018

Frédérique Émilie O'Connell’s etching, “Tête de Sainte Madeleine”, c1849


Frédérique Émilie O'Connell (aka Frédérique Émilie Auguste O'Connell; Frédérique Émilie Auguste Mièthe; Frédérique Émile Auguste O'Connell-Miethe) (1823–1885)

“Tête de Sainte Madeleine” (aka “Tête de femme”; “Head of the Magdalene” [Rijksmuseum title]), c1849, published in “Gazette des Beaux-Arts” (1860), printed by Auguste Delâtre (1822–1907).

Etching on cream chine-collé on wove paper with wide margins lined with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 27 x 17.8 cm; (plate) 7.7 x 5 cm
Inscribed on the plate at lower edge: “Fr. O’Connell aq. for. / imp. Delâtre Paris”
State ii (of ii) with the address of the printer added. (Note: see Philippe Burty’s catalogue raisonné with the different states of O’Connell’s plates listed in Wikipedia for this artist: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9rique_%C3%89milie_Auguste_O%27Connell)

Ref: "O'Connell, Frédérique Émilie Auguste". Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2010.
See also the (thin) description of this print at the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.154720
An exceptionally good discussion about the artist, “A female etcher of the Second Empire: Frederique Emilie O'Connell” is offered by “Adventures in the Print Trade”: http://adventuresintheprinttrade.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/female-etcher-of-second-empire.html

Condition: a crisp, richly inked and well-printed chine-collé impression with wide margins laid upon a fine washi paper support sheet. The print is in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds or significant stains, but there is faint spotting in the margin edges).

I am selling this magnificent (and rare) tiny 19th century masterpiece for the combined total cost of AU$183 (currently US$144.04/EUR118.74/GBP105.66 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested this graphically strong etching that projects a much larger scale image than its actual physical dimensions, 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 tiny print measuring about the size of one’s little finger—presuming that everyone has a little finger that is 7.7 cm long—is only the second etching that this artist made in her compete oeuvre of ten prints (see Phille Burty’s catalogue raisonné for Frédérique Émilie O'Connell in the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts”. Vol. 5, pp. 353-5). The small size of the print, is not an incidental issue, however, as its diminutive scale serves the special purpose of obliging a viewer to examine the image up close and intimately. Indeed, I suspect that this close scrutiny of the sensuously executed drawing of St Mary Magdalene may have prompted the art critic, Phille Burty, to propose that this print is not only “the most beautiful” of all the artist’s works, but that the “swagger of the effect, and the sureness of the line make this sketch a masterful etching worthy of the greatest Flemish masters" (op. cit.).

What I find especially interesting about the image is the line describing the collar-edge of Magdalene’s gown. This seemingly simple descriptive curved stroke holds the whole composition in check as it counters and anchors the upward twist of the head. To see what I mean, imagine if the composition without this mark and picture how the tension in the twisting rhythm of the head changes. Going further, see how the position of the head becomes spatial ambiguous when the perception of a foreground suggested by the line of the collar is removed.





Thursday, 11 January 2018

Alphonse Legros’ etching, “Death in the Pear Tree”, c1869


Alphonse Legros (1837–1911)

“La Légende du Bonhomme Misère” (aka “Death in the Pear Tree”), c1869, plate 13, illustration for “Bonhomme Misère” published by Alfred Cadart (1828–75) (as lettered on the plate) in “L'Eau Forte” (1889?) and in Philip Gilbert Hamerton’s (1834–94) 1880 edition of “Etching and Etchers.”

Etching with light plate tone on cream laid paper with margins and deckle edges (as published).
Size: (sheet with irregular deckle edge) 30.4 x 21.5 cm; (plate) 22.6 x
Numbered on plate within the image borderline: (upper right corner) “13”
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (lower right) “A Legros”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “A. Legros, del. et sc.”; (centre) “LA LÉGENDE DU BONHOMME MISÈRE.”; (right) “Vve A. Cadart, Edit. Imp. 56, Bard Haussmann, Paris.”
State iv (of iv?)

Malassis & Thibaudeau 1877 140.IV (Auguste Poulet-Malassis & Alphonse Wyatt Thibaudeau 1877, “Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre gravé et lithographié de Alphonse Legros”, Paris); Legros 140 (Alphonse Legros 1837, Catalogue [see BM])

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 13: Death in pear tree stealing fruit, old man below to left looking up in astonishment; illustration to the legend of 'Bonhomme Misère'; published in 'L'Eau Forte'."

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression with margins in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, but there are a few light brown marks that are mainly visible verso).

I am selling this strong etching by Legros that is one of his most famous for the combined total cost of AU$200 (currently US$157.47/EUR130.76/GBP116.42 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested this masterwork by Legros and a very influential print in the 19th 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


Regarding the curious subject of the Grim Reaper (Death) perched up in a pear tree brandishing what I assume is his scythe at an astonished and bemused elderly peasant below, I will offer my understanding of the ancient French fable ...

Let me first say that this old man (Bonhomme Misère) at the base of the tree is cunning and deserves a medal. The reason is that many years earlier he cared for St Peter and St Paul and in return he was granted a single wish. Unlike most greedy chaps who might have asked for money or someone that walks in stilettos, Misère asks only that anyone who climbs up his pear tree cannot come down from the tree without his permission.

To cut the story short, the Grim Reaper visits Misère and, being a hospitably generous chap Misère suggests that the Death might like a pear from his tree … I probably don’t need to explain more of the story beyond the fact that Misère has a VERY long life and Death had lots of pears to eat for eternity.