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Friday, 25 November 2016

Paul Edme Le Rat’s etched portrait from the Rohan Collection

Paul Edme Le Rat (aka Paul Edme Rat; Paul Edme Lerat; Paul Edmunde Le Rat) (1842/49–92
"Portrait d'Homme” from the Rothan collection, late 1800s.
Etching with remarque on chine-collé on cream laid paper with wide margins with a signed (in charcoal?) and hand-written dedication to the painter, printmaker and draughtsman, Edmond Hédouin (1820–89).
Size: (sheet) 56 x 37 cm; (plate) 23 x 17 cm; (image borderline) 16 x 12.3 cm
Inscribed in the plate below the image borderline: (left) “Le Rat sc”; (centre) “Collection be [de?] Mr Rothan”
Remarque proof before formal lettering with publication details.

Condition: superb, richly inked and well-printed impression and remarque with exceptionally wide margins. The sheet is lined onto a conservator’s support of fine washi paper. The sheet is in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, significant stains or foxing) but it does have traces of use (i.e. minor dustiness and a few handling marks towards the edges of the sheet). The hand-signed inscription is intact but difficult to decipher. My view that the inscription is dedicated to Edmond Hédouin may be incorrect.

I am selling this hand-signed and eye-catching etching by Le Rat, for a total cost of AU$117 (currently US$87.08/EUR82.23/GBP70 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you wish to purchase this rare print with its fascinating remarque image of a woman, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Le Rat is one of the better known of the nineteenth century reproductive printmakers (i.e. artists who were able to translate/copy other artists’ artworks into etchings and engravings ready for publication). Like many printmakers towards the end of that century, however, Le Rat was fully aware that prints with remarques (i.e. lightly incised “test” images usually seen immediately below the image borderline)—like this impression—made the prints desirable and very marketable outside of their ultimate use as book illustrations.

Originally, remarques were strictly functional in terms of being quickly drawn “test” images on the printing plate designed to assist the artist when etching and engraving. Before publication, test images were erased as they were never intended to be an integral part of the finished print..

Notwithstanding their intended function, late nineteenth-century collectors sought to acquire these proof prints with remarques because they were rare. Unsurprisingly, artists were not blind to this potential market, and created especially appealing remarque proofs to satisfy the collectors’ passion for these proof states.

What fascinates me about this remarque, featuring a back-view of the upper-half of a clothed woman, is that it bears little or no relationship to the main image.

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