Friday, 5 August 2016

William Julian-Damazy’s etching, “Violetta”, after Jules Joseph Lefebvre


William Julian-Damazy (1865–c1920) after Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836–1911)
“Violetta”, 1896, published by the Société des amis des arts
Etching and engraving on cream wove paper (Japon/Japanese vellum) with a remarque of a violet below the image, blind stamped (below the image lower right) with the seal of the Société des amis des arts
Size: (sheet) 44 x 31.1 cm; (plate mark [faint]) 33.7 x 23.8 cm; (image) 27.4 x 18.6 cm
Inscribed within the image (upper left) “Jules LeFebvre”
Condition: crisp impression in pristine condition.

I am selling this beautifully executed engraving in (rare) perfect condition, for a total cost of AU$97 (currently US$74.32/EUR66.61/GBP56.47 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this masterwork of engraving, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Among the many attributes of this fine print, there are two features in particular that amaze me.

The first is the stunning treatment of the girl’s hands arranged almost tangentially at the lower borderline. Beyond the visually arresting placement of the hands, they are also beautifully drawn. In fact, my eyes have great difficulty even seeing the fineness of the line work that renders them—even with my glasses focused on the hands only centimetres from the paper. For me, they are portrayed with such finely adjusted tonal nuance that the only words I can find to describe the treatment is: “breathtakingly delicate.”

The second feature that I find amazing is more of a formal technical nature: the evenness of the tonal gradation portraying the sweep of background tone from medium grey at the bottom to almost black at the top. On close examination, I can see how the artist has made the gradation using lightly laid diagonal strokes on top of a horizontal and vertical crosshatching, but the virtuosity to make the transition from light to dark is almost seamless. This reveals Julian-Damazy’s high order of technical skills just as much as the finely rendered features of the young woman.

I can understand how some viewers would dismiss prints like this as simply “nineteenth century romantic syrup.” From my standpoint, however, I can ignore the slight touch of saccharine and examine it without a moment of boredom.





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