Saturday, 15 October 2016

Ferdinand Kobell’s etching of a ravine


Ferdinand Kobell (1740–99)
“Man looking over the edge of a ravine” (descriptive title only), 1772
Etching on wove paper with small margins, signed and dated in the plate (lower right).
Size: (sheet) 14.1 x 11.5 cm; (plate) 11.1 x 8.5 cm

Condition: crisp and well-inked impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no stains, tears, abrasions, holes, losses or foxing).

I am selling this small and finely executed etching by Kobell—one of the well-known German masters whose prints, according to Wikipedia, “mark a distinct advance in the treatment of landscape etching in Germany”—for the total cost of AU$126 (currently US$95.86/EUR87.58/GBP78.79 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this intimately precious 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


Ferdinand Kobell’s prints have always been popular with collectors. This popularity was partly due to Kobell’s astute practice of printing and marketing them himself, in the sense that he chose not to entrust his plates to other publishers, with the exception (as the curator of the British Museum clarifies) “of a few in his early days in Paris.” As the sole publisher, Kobell “released” them in very limited editions to ensure that his prints were highly sought after—and are still keenly sought after, especially beautiful prints like this impression! Indeed, Kobell’s prints were so eagerly collected that even when he died and the family issued an edition of his prints with a portrait of the Kobell bound in as a frontispiece, Frances Carey (1994) in “German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe” reports that this posthumous edition “was something that not even a middle-ranking art collection could do without” (p. 45).

From my own viewpoint, Kobell’s prints, like this one, seem to glow with light. This effect of a glow emanating from within the image is not an accident. It is a critical element in the design of his prints. In this etching, for example, Kobell uses the broken dark forms of trees overhanging the sun-drenched walls of the ravine below to create an eye-catching contrast of tone. To my eyes this harsh contrast of dark filigreed foliage set against a light background makes the image sparkle with light.





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