Monday, 6 June 2016

Felix Meyer (1653–1713)

(upper image) "Landscape with a cascading river on the right and three deer towards the centre of the composition in the shadow of trees" [descriptive title only] from a series of Swiss landscapes.
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed to the borderline
Size: (sheet) 11.9 x 14.3 cm
Condition: well-inked impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, folds, stains or foxing). The impression shows some areas of plate wear. There is a circular line at the upper right corner that may be part of the image—in the sense that the part circle may be the sun—but I am unable to determine whether this is part of the impression or a trace of a former collector’s stamp.
(lower image) “Landscape with a cascade of water flowing through a natural arch of abutted slabs of rock and a rocky embankment in the distance" [descriptive title only] from a series of Swiss landscapes.
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed to the borderline
Size: (sheet) 10 x 11.7 cm
Condition: well-inked impression with closed tears, signs of old repairs (verso) and remnants of mounting hinges (verso); otherwise the sheet is in a good condition (i.e. there are no folds, stains or foxing).  

Hollstein 36–47; resp. Le Blanc 10–21

I am selling this pair of rare original etchings by Felix Meyer for AU$196 in total (currently US$144.12/EUR127.02/GBP99.95 at the time of posting these prints) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing these highly evocative romantic landscape scenes by a Swiss oldmaster, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

In a previous post I have offered an account of Meyer’s character and his approach to creating artworks. Rather than continuing with this discussion I’ve decided to focus on a very different topic: a single feature of his work that I find fascinating.

The feature that interests is not the marvellous suggestion of fleeting moment provided by the 17th century version of agitrons—a term borrowed from comic book illustrators to express movement in animation marks—that graphically describe the flow of cascading water portrayed in each of these prints. Instead, the feature is simply areas of the landscapes that Meyer does not draw the subject in lines at all and yet a viewer still understands what is portrayed in the areas that he hasn’t drawn.

For instance, if one looks at the detail shown in the upper image on the right that is extracted from the print with the three deer, note how Meyer has erased—or perhaps I should describe the effect as “dissolved”—the tree limb shown on the left in the light of the sky. This small and important subtlety of tracing the direction of the limb from a white line, when it is silhouetted against the dark foliage of other trees, to no line at all, reveals Meyer’s understanding of the very useful principle of noetic space: a notional space presented by the artist as vacant white paper where a viewer understands what is portrayed without actually seeing the subject depicted in line because the viewer is acculturated in looking at art. 

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