Saturday, 8 October 2016

Noël Lemire’s etching of the Grand Theatre de Bordeaux’s ceiling, “Apollo and the Muses accepting the dedication of a temple devoted to them by the city of Bordeaux."


Noël Lemire (aka Noël Le Mire) (1724–1801)
"Apollon et les Muses agréant la dédicace d'un Temple qui leur est consacré par la ville de Bordeaux" (Apollo and the Muses accepting the dedication of a temple devoted to them by the city of Bordeaux), 1781-2, after the ceiling design painted in 1770 by Jean-Baptiste Claude Robin (1734-1818) in the Grand Theatre de Bordeaux.
Etching and engraving on laid paper, trimmed within the plate marks and lined on a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 64.5 x 63.5 cm
Le Blanc 33 (Le Blanc, Charles, "Manuel de l'Amateur d'Estampes 1550-1820", 4 vols, Paris, 1854); IFF n° 455 (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930)

Condition: an excellent impression of a print of the utmost rarity (perhaps only two other copies are extant). There are small tears, a few abrasions, a dot stain towards the centre of the image and the paper has areas where it is thinned. The latter issue is noticeable with the print is lit from behind. There is a vertical fold, but this and the other issues are stabilised and professionally restored. The sheet is lined to a conservator’s support sheet.

I am selling this exceptionally rare and huge etching for a total cost of AU$723 (currently US$548.49/EUR490.12/GBP441.17 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this print which was the sole source of information about the ceiling before it was destroyed, 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


This is a huge etching executed in the grand manner: bold, monumental and awe inspiring. The print may not be as large as the truly massive prints of the court painter to Louis XIV, Charles Le Brun (1619–90), that measure a staggering 91 x 152 cm (3 x 8 ft.), nevertheless, the size at approximately 65 cm is undoubtedly meant to be visually arresting—a genuine “crowd stopper.” Not only is it impressively big, it is also designed to sustain a viewer’s interest and to engage with the viewer in a reflexive way. What I mean by this notion of reflexivity is that viewers wishing to read the text encircling the worm’s-eye view of the ceiling are physically obliged to turn the print in a clockwise direction, or to rotate their angle of reading, to understand what is written.

Regarding the rarity of this print I believe (and I may be wrong) that there are only two other impressions of this print: one copy in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Bordeaux and another in Versailles. Interestingly, when the ceiling was destroyed and later restored, this print was the sole record of the original decoration. In short, this is a historically important and very rare print.






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