Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Felix Brissot de Warville (aka Félix-Saturnin Brissot de Warville) (1818–92)
“Un Attelage de Boeufs en Normandie” [a team of oxen in Normandy], printed and published by Alfred Cadart (1828–75) as plate 210 in “L'Illustration Nouvelle par une Société de Peintres-Graveurs à L’Eau-Forte”, Vol. 5, September issue, 1873 (see http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b85276003)
Etching on thick wove paper with margins as published
Size: (sheet) 31.9 x 41.7 cm; (plate) 23.9 x 31.8 cm; (image) 17.2 x 25.2 cm
Inscribed in the plate with the artist’s signature and lettered below the image borderline: (left) “F. Brissot, del. et. sculp.”; (centre) “UN ATTELAGE DE BOEUFS EN NORMANDIE”; (right) “A. CADART, Edit. Imp. Rue Nve des Mathurins, 58, Paris.”
Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression in near pristine condition.
I am selling this strongly romantic original etching of rural life for AU$175 (currently US$127.01/EUR114.08/GBP87.86 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this rare etching executed by one of the leading animalier artists of 19th century France, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
Quite often the quality of an artist can be determined by how they render incidental details, such as the long grass at the side of the road shown in the lower-left corner of this image.
For me, a good artist is one who can convincingly suggest a plethora of detail without actually showing the detail in all its intricacy. The reason that this particular virtue is so important is that by reducing the amount of pictorial information that a viewer has to visually digest, the critical features of the composition stand out.
Felix Brissot de Warville mastered this art of guiding a viewer to the important parts of the image by effectively blurring unnecessary details. Interestingly, he mastered this technique by following in the metaphorical footsteps of his artistic mentor, Adolphe Martial-Potémont. For those who might be interested in revisiting the forest scene by Martial-Potémont that I posted not long ago, please have a look at his treatment of the undergrowth as it epitomises the artistic approach of rationalising what is shown and what is not.
To understand how Brissot de Warville employs the approach of selective detailing, note how the artist makes the legs of the driver of the team of oxen seem almost invisible so that attention is directed along his cane and towards the leading pair of oxen.