Sunday, 23 October 2016
Charles Meryon’s etching, “Bain-froid Chevrier”
Charles Meryon (1821–68)
“Bain-froid Chevrier” (Chevrier's cold bath establishment) / “L'école” (The school baths), 1864, printed by Pierron (1849–66; fl.)
Etching on fine cream laid paper with large margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 40.7 x 29.7 cm; (plate) 13.8 x 15.2 cm; (image borderline) 11.5 x 13.1 cm
Signed with monogram within image and lettered with title caption and production detail below: "PARIS MDCCCLXIV" and "Pierron Imp. Paris"
State VI (of VI)
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Elevated view over the river Seine with the Pont Neuf at left, the statue of Henri IV on the île de la Cité in centre, bath-house at right, a flag seen on the roof; with figures seen walking across plank bridge above boats at left. 1864 Etching with light surface tone, printed in dark brown ink.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1444806&partId=1&searchText=1866%2c1013.594&page=1)
Delteil+Wright 44.VI (Delteil, Loys; Wright, Harold, “Catalogue raisonné of the etchings of Charles Meryon”, New York, Winfred Porter Truesdell, 1924); Schneiderman 1990 93.V (Schneiderman, Richard S; Raysor II, Frank W, “The Catalogue Raisonné of the Prints of Charles Meryon”, London, Garton & Co, in association with Scolar Press, 1990)
Condition: faultless impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, abrasions, holes, stains or foxing but there is a light fold to the paper at the lower-left corner).
I am selling this marvellous impression by one of the greatest French printmakers of the 19th century for the total cost of AU$387 (currently US$294.39/EUR270.75/GBP240.79 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing is exceptional print by a historically significant master, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make your payment easy.
Meryon wrote the following note to the artist and collector Jean-Louis-Henri Lesecq (1818-82) who commissioned this print:
“October 10th, 1864—Monsieur, I have now completed for you the little etching of the ‘Bain-Froid Chevrier’. On Friday, September 9th, having pulled the first proof I hastened to you to inform you of it, but I missed you. Yesterday at Pierron's I printed a proof 'bon à tirer' for 12 proofs before letters; tomorrow I hope to have the title etched upon the plate so that I may be able to proceed forthwith to print the edition. … I have also composed a few verses to be used with a limited number of the impressions of this etching. … I have made up an account for the time I have been occupied in making this etching. The account is in detail, to days and fractions of days, and totals 45 full days of 6 to 8 hours each. I first made a drawing of the scene as it is in reality, but finding that the ‘Pont Neuf’ was too much in profile, I made a second sketch in order to make a more compact composition. Other details I will reserve until I can communicate them to you personally as they bear upon the special methods I have employed in making this etching. Acceding to your request promised to let you have the plate itself, but you will readily understand after the above explanations, that I wish to be excused from this, and I hope you will agree with my suggestion and let the plate be destroyed after a reasonable number of impressions have been printed from it, according to the rule I always adopt now. Think of the abuses which may occur if this course be not followed. Given a plate, it is possible to reproduce it indefinitely nowadays, with the aid of the improved methods now known, such as the electrotype process, steel-facing, photography or lithography. …”
Interestingly, the plate still exists and is in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.