Monday, 3 October 2016

Lucien Renout’s etching, “La vie artistique”, 1880


Lucien Renout (19thC late fl.)
“La vie artistique”, 1880
Etching with drypoint on fine laid paper with margins lined upon a conservator’s washi paper support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 23.5 x 32.7 cm; (plate) 18 x 21.7 cm; (image borderline) 16.2 x 19.8 cm
Inscribed below the image borderline: (lower left) “LUCIEN RENOUT del et Sc.”; (lower right) “LA VIE ARTISTIQUE”

Condition: strong impression with very rich blacks of drypoint on fine laid paper with generous margins. The sheet is clean of foxing and stains, but has fine pencil line restoration work designed to conceal fine creases in the paper. The print is lined on a support sheet.

I am selling this delicate etching capturing the spirit of symbolism for AU$79 in total (currently US$60.66/EUR54.11/GBP47.20 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this beautifully executed and mysterious image of a young woman resting her eyes while seated beside a lit candle and a distant view of water with misty buildings beyond, 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


Sadly, Renout did not achieve the fame of many of his 19th century painter-printmaker colleagues in France. Nevertheless, this is a very beautiful study that deserves close scrutiny.

What I find interesting is trying to decipher the symbolic meanings underpinning the portrayed subject (viz. a young woman resting her eyes while seated beside a lit candle and a distant view of water with misty buildings beyond). Certainly Renout’s interest leaned heavily towards symbolism with a strong touch of romanticism, but my reading of the image falters in connecting the different elements together without arriving at a trite narrative. Of course, the storyline may be as simple as woman yearning for the return of a loved one out at sea. This would explain why she is shown is a dreamy state of reverie with her eyes lightly closed and the candle signalling her desire for the loved one’s return. From a man’s mindset, however, I have difficulty in reconciling why the artist—a red blooded man—would need to create such a romantic scene. In short, from a man’s standpoint, there must be more to this delicately rendered image.






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