Friday, 14 October 2016

Anthonie Waterloo’s etching, “The Leaning Tree”



Anthonie Waterloo (aka Antoni Waterlo) (1609–90)
“The Leaning Tree” (L’arbre cru de biais), 1640–90, from a series of six landscapes
Etching on laid paper trimmed on, or within, the platemark and attached at the upper edge to a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 12.8 x 14 cm; (image borderline) 12.4 x 13.6 cm
Lettered at lower right: "AW.F."
State iii (of iii)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The leaning tree; the trunk stretching from the mound at left towards the centre; reeds and grasses growing on the edge of the pond at right; a forest in left background, view of a mountain at right; from a series of six landscapes.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3129261&partId=1&searchText=1982,U.1228&page=1)
Hollstein 58.III (Hollstein, F W H, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam, 1949); Bartsch II.64.58 (Bartsch, Adam, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna, 1803); see also Bartsch II (Part 1, Commentary), 1992, pp. 74–6.

Condition: richly inked and well-printed superb impression, trimmed on, or within, the platemark and before the image borderline in excellent condition (i.e. there are no stains, tears, abrasions, holes, losses or foxing). The sheet is attached at the upper edge to a support sheet. There is a previous collector’s stamp verso.

I am selling this superb impression by Waterloo—one of the well-known masters from the 17th century—for the total cost of AU$178 (currently US$135.87/EUR123.32/GBP110.98 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this rare and very 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


Not much is known about the personal life of Anthonie Waterloo. Nevertheless, his vast output of prints— “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 2 (1978) lists 137 plates—clearly shows that he was a committed artist. From memory, and my memory is not always reliable, I recall that he was an autodidact (i.e. without formal training) in terms of his art practice. It this information is true, it sits well with my view of his compositions. By this seeming disparaging comment, I do not mean that his compositions were not well conceived. On the contrary, they are extraordinarily balanced and reveal subtleties that reward careful examination. Instead, the notion of Waterloo creating intuitively crafted compositions is all about his treatment of subject matter. For example, in this print there is not the traditional centre of interest—usually a building, structure or some phenomenological oddity—in the distance and a meandering path or stream leading the eye to the distant point of interest through a series of eye-catching visual “stepping stones.” By contrast to this convention of composition, Waterloo portrays a sequence of trees arranged as the visual “stepping stones” that invite the eye into the distance but when the eye examines the far distance there is nothing of note to be seen. What I mean by this discussion is not that Waterloo is “wrong” in the way that he composes his images but rather that he is “special” and different to formal expectations.

Regarding my comment that close examination of his work is rewarding, I am fascinated by the subtle changes that Waterloo makes to his prints from the first state to the last state as exemplified with this print. For instance, note that in the first state (shown above on the left) the trunk of the tree in the middle distance is longer than in the final state. Waterloo must have decided that the tree needed a reduction in its length to enhance the illusion of spatial depth. What is even more interesting to me, is that Waterloo changed the form of the tree on the far right edge of the composition from the first to the final state by adding an additional limb to support the foliage mass and altered the form of the foliage mass from rounded to spiky. Such small but important changes attest to the insightful vision of this 17th century master printmaker.








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