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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Daubigny’s etching, “Les Ruines du Château de Crémieu”

Charles-François Daubigny (1817–78)
“Les Ruines du Château de Crémieu” (The ruins of the Château at Crémieu [Isère]), 1850
Etching with aquatint and roulette on cream wove paper, dry stamped with the seal of the Louvre Chalcographie.
Size: (sheet 26.4 x 29.3 cm; (plate) 12 x 19.7 cm; (image borderline) 9.4 x 17.4 cm
State ii (of ii), Chalcographie edition
Ber. 5, H. 71, Del. 77
Michel Melot (1978) in ”Graphic Art of the Pre-Impressionists” notes that there is a related drawing in the Cabinet des Dessins (the Louvre) and that the plate is held in the Louvre Chalcographie under the title of “Les Ruines” and interesting advises that the plate is “a reused plate, already engraved on the reverse by another engraver” (p. 277).
For a brief and very interesting biographical summary of Daubigny as well as a description of this print, see see also

Condition: marvellously rich and crisp impression with large margins and dry-stamped by the Louvre Chalcographie below the plate mark (towards the lower centre of the margin). The sheet is in excellent condition with a few scattered flecks of dirt/stains and the back of the sheet is darken with oxidisation/age-toning.

I am selling this gem of a landscape by one of the leading artists of the Barbizon School for AU$178 in total (currently US$133.99/EUR120.11/GBP102.05 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this etching, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This seemingly simple panoramic etching of the old ruins of the Château de Crémieu in Isère (about 40 km east of Lyon) is a true nugget of information for printmakers, as it showcases an interesting array of Daubigny’s—one of the foremost printmakers in nineteenth century France—techniques. For instance, note how he employs a dot roulette to give tone and atmospheric substance to the cloudy sky. By contrast to the layered and multidirectional matrix of dots rendering the sky, Daubigny varies the length and character of his lines describing the rugged terrain of the region from long and emphatically laid, return-stroke lines (i.e. a natural “z”-like formation of aligned strokes made quickly) in the foreground to much shorter, carefully laid hatched lines in the far distance. Of special interest to me is how Daubigny portrays the single tree shown on the far right. Here, he expresses the effects of distance by defining some of the tree’s silhouette outline and softening other lines with dots. For me this is fascinating to see a great artist in control of how a landscape is perceived.

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