Friday, 30 September 2016

Henry Wolf’s wood engravings


Henry Wolf (1852–1916)

UPPER IMAGE
“Landscape”, 1892, after Henry Wolf Ranger (1858–1916), wood engraving/photoxylograph (see the explanation of this process further below) on wove paper, published by “Century Magazine.”
Size: (sheet) 17 x 24.7 cm; (plate) 12.3 x 15.7 cm
The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery offers a (brief) description of this print: http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=28021

LOWER IMAGE
“'Tis Merry in Hall”, 1884, after Frederick Barnard (1846–96), wood engraving/photoxylograph (see the explanation of this process further below) on wove paper, signed and dated in the plate, published in “Harper's Monthly.”
Size: (sheet) 24.1 x 30.7; (plate) 12.4 x 19.6 cm
The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, offers a (brief) description of this print: http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=28154 and has a large online gallery of 314 of Wolf’s engravings: http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/results/index.cfm?rows=10&q=&page=1&start=0&fq=name:%22Wolf%2C%20Henry%22

Condition: both prints are faultless impressions with full margins (as published). The upper print is in pristine condition. The lower print has a stain at the lower left corner and age toning towards the edges.

I am selling this pair of wood engravings/photoxylographs (see the explanation of this process further below) for AU$84 in total (currently US$63.91/EUR57.12/GBP49.32 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing these finely executed engravings, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


From a personal standpoint, this print is the real masterwork. I’m amazed that Wolf is able to represent such a wide spectrum of tones and subtle shifts in focal definition by variations in the size of each line and the complexity and variety in his groupings of marks.







The process of making this pair of wood engravings is fundamentally the same as that employed by the early masters of the craft in that each line is created by the hand of the artist cutting into the end-grain of a wood block. The major difference, however, is how Henry Wolf involves photography in the processing of the hand-engraved block to create what is termed a “photoxylograph”.

Richard Benson (2008) in his marvellous book outlining each of the printing processes, “The Printed Picture” (The Museum of Modern Art, New York), offers an excellent summary of the steps in this process of adapting wood-engravings for publication in the 1880s:
(I) … [A photograph was taken of the original artwork design]
(2) This negative was printed with a light-sensitive coating that had been applied to an end-grain wooden block.
(3) A carver laboriously engraved the block by hand, working with a burin and using the image printed on the wood as a guide.
(4) The finished block was locked up with type in a chase.
(5) This composite was used to generate a stereotype (a thin metal replica, shaped to fit a cylinder), and
(6) this plate, along with a group of others, was mounted on the cylinder of a rotary printing press, to be printed at high speed for use in the magazine …. (p. 214)

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Storm van Gravesande’s lithograph (algraph) “Decline of Day”


Carel Nicolaas Storm van 'S Gravesande (aka Charles Storm van Gravesande) (1841–1924)
“Decline of Day”, 1897, published by “The Studio” (1897)
Original lithograph (algraph) printed in blue-black ink on cream wove paper with the artist’s monograph (lower right) and dry stamped with the publisher’s monogram (below the image borderline at lower right).
Size: (sheet) 20.9 x 29.1 cm; (image borderline) 14 x 22.8 cm
Idburyprints offers an excellent description of this print and explains the algraph process of lithography: http://www.idburyprints.com/index.php?page=print_style_view.php&pid=5431&s_name=Hague%20School&s_table=style&s_title=style&sp_id=24&page1=1

Condition: faultless impression with full margins (as published) in near pristine condition.

I am selling this early exploration of a fresh way to create a lithograph using an aluminium plate for AU$126 in total (currently US$96.86/EUR86.23/GBP74.38 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this softly beautiful print of fading light on the shoreline, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


I can imagine that this very beautiful (algraph) lithograph may not appeal to everyone’s taste. After all, the image is very blurry and there is only the merest suggestion of details revealing a panoramic view along a seashore with silhouettes of buildings and ships in the far distance. To my eyes, however, this print is all about pictorial ambiguity: a delight in almost understanding what is portrayed but not with any degree of certainty. 





Leonhard Beck’s woodcut after Hans Burgmair


Leonhard Beck (1475/80–1542)
"Frederick III and Maximilian I", 1514–16, after Hans Burgmair (1473–1553), from ”Der Weisskunig” (the white, or wise, king), documenting an idealised biography of Emperor Maximilian as the “Young White King”, Frederick (his father), as the “Old White King” and the King of France (Louis XI) as the “Blue King.” (Note that my attribution of this print to “Der Weisskunig” is driven by the subject matter portrayed, the raised (aerial) viewpoint, along with superficial details, such as the distinctive markings shown on the floor. In short, I may be incorrect.)

Fragment of a larger woodcut (H.11) on tan laid paper trimmed to the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 22.1 x 8.9 cm

Regarding signature marks on Bleck’s woodcut prints, the British Museum offers the following information:
“Of the numerous woodcuts by Beck, only three are signed with his monogram, a title-page to Geyler von Kaisersberg's 'Das Schiff der Penitenz', 1514 and two subjects from 'Die Weisskunig'; five other blocks for this latter series are signed on the back: "Beckh" (Vienna, Albertina). After Hans Burgkmair, Beck was the most productive designer of woodcuts for the imperial commissions of Maximilian I during the second decade of the sixteenth century.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=132916)
For more bibliographical information about Bleck see: G.Messling, “Der Augsburger Maler und Zeichner Leonhard Beck und sein Umkreis”, Dresden 2006; G.Messling, New Hollstein German, Leonhard Beck, 2.vols, 2007.

Condition: crisp impression, trimmed to the image borderline. The sheet is in superb condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, losses, foxing, stains, abrasions or creases).

I am selling this remarkably well preserved woodcut from the early 16th century for AU$122 in total (currently US$93.47/EUR83.44/GBP71.89 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this beautiful and historically significant woodcut, 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


The Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I (1459–1519), had a grand vision of how prints could be used to archive and chronicle his achievements. His major woodcut projects, the “Triumphal Arch” and the “Triumph of Maximilian”, overseen by Durer, are arguably the largest and most ambitious composite print images ever created.

Maximilian’s interest in printmaking is historically important, because his vision was the catalyst for a whole generation of artists like the designer of this print, Hans Burgmair (1473–1553), and scores of other woodcut artists—many of whom history has forgotten—into the industry of printmaking.

Leonhard Beck, who executed this print, may not be as famous as Burgmair, nevertheless he is remembered for the high order of technical skill and subtlety of treatment in rendering his portrayed subjects. His choices may be guided by intuition—for instance, where he chooses to pictorially crop the right figure’s foot by the borderline so that the figure does not appear maimed but rather slightly animated—but the result is what marks him as a master.





Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Egbert van Panderen’s engraving after Abraham Janssens

'

Egbert van Panderen (c.1581–1637)
“Christ’s entombment”, c.1600, after Abraham Janssens (c.1575–1632), published by Pieter de Jode I (1573 - 1634)
Engraving on laid paper, trimmed on or within the plate mark and lined on a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 40.5 x 26.8 cm
Inscribed within the image (lower left): “Abraham IanSSens invent. / Egbert van Panderen Sculp. / Pet. De Iode excud.”
Lettered below the image borderline in two lines of verse: (lower left) “Felicem tumulum Sacros qui condidit artus! / Non fuit in toto Sanctior orbe Specus” (Google translation: ”Felix, who founded the sacred tomb of the frame! / And there was no more holy than in the whole of the world of the Cave”); (lower right) “Huc amor, huc pietas, lacrymaru huc currite fontes: / ISta Sibi  fieri balSama Christus amat.” (Google translation: “To this love, I love, tears run hither springs / is meant to be the balm of Christ loves.”); (lower centre) “CL. V. ET DNO D. IOANNI DV BERON OMNIS ELEGANTLAE ADMIRATORI, / ABRAHANVS IANSONIVS VAN NUSSEN PICTOR L.M.D.D.

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print (Google translated from Dutch):
“Christ is laid in the tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. On the right a group of grieving women including Mary and Mary Magdalene. Left in the foreground lie Arma Christi in a basket. In the margin a four-line team, in two columns, in Latin. Underneath a two-line caption in Latin.” (https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/search/objects?q=Egbert+van+panderen&p=1&ps=12&st=OBJECTS&ii=6#/RP-P-H-M-76,9)

Hollstein Dutch 1 (Hollstein, F W H, Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700, Amsterdam, 1949); Nagler 6 (Nagler, G K, Die Monogrammisten, 5 vols, Munich, 1858)

Condition: strong impression trimmed at, or within, the platemark. The print is lined on the support sheet and is in good condition for its age (i.e. there are no evident tears, holes, losses, foxing, or abrasions but there is very light toning and a few marks).

I am selling this engraving of the highest order of technical accomplishment for AU$183 in total (currently US$140.22/EUR124.68/GBP108.08 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this impressive print exemplifying the Mannerist spirit at the time of its execution, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


At the time that this engraving was executed (circa 1600), Egbert van Panderen, like many of his fellow artists in Holland, was swayed towards the exuberant energy of Northern Mannerism. This leaning towards a theatricality of expression is seen in the spiralling compositional arrangement of this print—a sweeping movement that makes Christ appear almost weightless—along with the use of strong lighting and displays of technical virtuosity in the use of the burin that renders the portrayed clothes as shimmery as satin. This enthusiasm for a mannered mode of expression led some of his colleagues to even greater heights of exaggeration, such as the legendary Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617) whose adoption of the Mannerist style of Bartholomeus Spranger (1546–1611) led to the term “Sprangerism” being coined for excessive exaggeration.





Monday, 26 September 2016

Adolph Menzel’s self-portrait lithograph


Adolph Menzel (aka Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel) (1815–1905)
“Selbstporträt ”(Self-portrait)
Lithograph signed by the artist in the plate (upper right) on heavy laid paper lined to a conservator’s sheet of fine washi paper.
Size: (sheet) 43.2 x 31.8 cm; (plate) 30.8 x 24.6 cm; (image borderline) 24.8 x 20 cm.
The Cornell University, Johnson Museum of Art offers a (brief) description of this print: http://emuseum.cornell.edu/view/objects/asitem/People@3808/0?t:state:flow=86bf1f39-3102-4efc-8f5f-c26fd169a8f0
Condition: crisp, faultless impression with generous margins. The sheet has a pencil notation, “Menzel” (upper right), there are small closed tears at the edges and there is a strong diagonal fold on the lower left outside of the image area that has been flattened on the support sheet of fine washi paper. Beyond these issues the sheet is in good condition (i.e. there are no significant stains, foxing, abrasions or holes).

I am selling this striking self-portrait by one of the major 19th century German artists for AU$179 in total (currently US$136.44/EUR121.52/GBP105.13 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this important lithograph showing Menzel contemplating a small sculpture of a winged monster that he holds in his hand, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


In his lifetime, Menzel was one of the most famous artists in Germany, but after his death his fame subsided outside of Germany. Fortunately, his rightful claim to being one of the truly great German artists is once more confirmed and this self-portrait has all the “right” elements showcasing why Menzel is such an interesting artist; namely, his command of technical drawing skills, his ability to capture and sustain a viewer’s attention when looking at his artworks, and the complexly difficult capacity to project significant meanings. Regarding the latter notion of significant meanings, what makes this image memorable to me is the curious way that Menzel portrays his hands in a contemplative gesture as he engages in thinking about the small grotesque sculpture—a gothic winged gargoyle?—that he holds in his hand. For me, this gesture captures not only the artist’s mindset of layered thoughts—a rich mix of superficial amusement at the winged critter looking back at him and a more profound level of thinking about mortality and spiritual otherworldliness-—that I find myself also contemplating reflexively when looking at Menzel.

This is a wonderful print by an artist whose prints are seldom found on the marketplace.






Saturday, 24 September 2016

Pietro Monaco’s etching (with engraving) of Adam and Eve


Pietro Monaco (1707–72)
“La colpa de primi padri” (The fault of the first parents or Adam and Eve), 1741–52, from the series, “Raccolta di 112 stampe di pitture della storia sacra” (Collection of 112 prints of paintings of sacred history), after Jacopo Tintoretto (1519–94), published in Venice.
Etching with engraving on laid paper trimmed on or slightly within the platemark and lined on a conservator’s fine (millennium quality) washi paper support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 49 x 34.5 cm; (image borderline) 46.3 x 34 cm
Lettered along bottom with title, verse from Bible (Gen. III, 6), followed by collection and production details “Pittura di Iacopo Robusti Veneziano detto il Tintoretto, posseduta dalla nobile famiglia Pisani del fu sere.mo” and “Pietro Monaco del. scol. e forma in Venezia”.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Adam and Eve, after Tintoretto; Eve, standing on the right, hand the apple to Adam, who sits on the left”. The curator of the BM also offers the following information: “Print described in 'Immagini dal Tintoretto', Rome, 1982. cat. No.67, page 74; and 'Tintoretto e suoi incisori', Milan, 1994, cat. No.88, pages 86-87.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3224322&partId=1&searchText=Pietro+Monaco+&page=2)

Condition: an extremely rare, large and marvellously crisp impression in superb condition for its age (i.e. there are no stains, holes, abrasions or foxing). Nevertheless, there is a centre-fold tear that has been stabilised and made virtually invisible by the lining of the print on a conservator’s washi paper support sheet and there are pencil numbers from a former collector on the lower corners (recto). The sheet has been trimmed on or slightly within the platemarks.

I am selling this very impressive original etching by an 18th century master printmaker for AU$259 in total (currently US$197.32/EUR176.02/GBP152.34 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this masterwork that is seldom seen on the market, 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 rare print and even rarer regarding its superb condition for its large size. Such grand prints are inevitably soiled, stained, abraded, worm-holed and show significant signs of handling, especially considering that it was executed nearly 300 years ago.

From a technical standpoint, Monaco's print showcases the subtle mastery of 18th century engravers in Venice. For example, note how Monaco is able to describe using only line how the trees behind Adam and Eve fade into the light. Such technical virtuosity to create a tonal transition of this delicacy is only achieved by the gentlest of changes to pressure on the engraver’s burin.

What I love about this print is the sparkle of dappled light falling over the figures. Although Monaco may have been translating the tones of Tintoretto’s painting in this print, to my eyes this captured sparkle is all about the bouncing light of Venice—a light that both Monaco and Tintoretto were very familiar.





Paul Signac’s etching (with aquatint), “Paris: Le Pont des Arts avec Remorquers”


Paul Signac (1863–1935)
“Paris: Le Pont des Arts avec Remorquers”, 1927, published in “Dix Peintres au XXe Siécle” in an edition of 250.
Etching and aquatint on cream wove paper (vellum) inscribed in the plate with the artist’s signature (lower right)
Size: (sheet) 23.9 x 32; (plate) 12.4 x 31.9 cm
Kornfeld & Wick 24 (Kornfeld, E W; Wick, P A, “Catalogue raisonné de l'Oeuvre gravé et lithographié de Paul Signac”, Bern, Kornfeld & Klipstein, 1974)

Spaightwood Galleries offer a fine description of this print and insights into its execution: http://www.spaightwoodgalleries.com/Pages/Signac.html
Condition: a marvellously rich impression in pristine condition with margins as published in a limited edition of 250.

I am selling this freely inscribed original etching by the famous Neo-Impressionist, Paul Signac, for AU$656 in total (currently US$499.77/EUR445.82/GBP385.86 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this etching by one of the great French masters, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This is Signac’s last print and for me it is almost the antithesis of what he is fondly remembered for in terms of being one of the great masters of Neo-Impressionism; namely, artists who—according to Bernard Denvir (1991) in his hefty tome, “Impressionism: The Painters and the Paintings”—“concentrated on structure and a syntax of form” (p. 331). What I mean by this comment is that Signac is more famous for using dots of carefully adjusted tone and colour like Seurat, to give his artworks compositional strength, but in this image he has abandoned the principles of Pointillism in favour of freely laid lines expressing a fleeting glimpse of his subject. In short, this print is almost a repudiation of his earlier artistic practices, described by Denvir (1991) to “substitute an elaborate but logical technique for the haphazard impulses of spontaneity” (p. 298) in favour of simply enjoying the process of drawing without too many formal constraints. Of course, for Signac to draw with such confidence and spontaneity signals his many years of practical experience and ingrained knowledge.




Friday, 23 September 2016

Louis Jean Désiré Delaistre’s etching (with engraving) of a self-portrait by Tintoretto


Louis Jean Désiré Delaistre (1800–71)
“R. Tintoret” c.1830, after a self-portrait by Jacopo Tintoretto (1519–94) now in the Louvre (inv. 572), published by Chaillou-Potrelle (1796–1833; fl.).
Etching and engraving on wove paper, trimmed within the platemark, and laid on a fine washi support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 32.1 x 21.4 cm; (image borderline) 21.4 x 16.2 cm
Lettered with production detail: “R. Tintoret pinx.t - Delaistre Del.t et Sculp.t”', publication address: “A Paris chez Ch. Potrelle M.d d'Estampes Rue St Honoré en face l'Oratoire”, and title, continuing: 'D'Après le Tableau du Musée Royal'.
The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Portrait of Tintoretto, after the artist's self-portrait; bust-length, facing front, on dark ground.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3358107&partId=1&searchText=DELAISTRE+&page=1)
IFF 19 (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930)

Condition: well-inked and well-printed impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no stains, foxing, abrasions or holes) but with an almost invisible small tear to the outer edge and consequently the sheet has been laid on a fine conservator’s support sheet.
I am selling this visually arresting graphic translation of a self-portrait by the famous artist, Tintoretto, engraved by Delaistre for AU$92 in total (currently US$70.58/EUR62.78/GBP53.97 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this portrait of one of the truly great painters o the 16th century, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Whenever I see a self-portrait, I look to see if the artist has portrayed their face with dilated pupils. The reason that I am fascinated with large pupils is that my personal experience of creating self-portraits reveals that the pupils in my eyes get larger the closer I get when examining myself in a mirror—a phenomenon that is no doubt shared by other artists. Although artists tend to see themselves with unusually large pupils, I wish to propose that portraits where the pupils are rendered “normal” sized—which is often the case in photographic “selfies”—the portrait tends to appear soulless. Although not everyone may concur that self-portraits are more authentic when the pupils are big, I suspect that Delaistre understood the importance of how pupils are portrayed as the large pupils in this self-portrait of Tintoretto draw my attention to the face like a pair of sexy magnets.

Beyond the treatment of the eyes, this print is a remarkable example of mimetic rendering. By this I mean that Delaistre uses marks that closely resemble the texture, softness, opacity and sheen of the surfaces that he represents. Note for example, how the deeply etched, thick and curving lines describing Tintoretto’s cloak connote that the material is heavy, dense, soft, and has a slight sheen to it. Going further, note how the lines describing the cloak’s fur collar express the length of the individual hairs, the fur’s directional grain and its shininess. Regarding the rendering of the face—executed with engraved lines rather than the etched lines describing the cloak—here a complex web of lines express and differentiate the complex textures of hair, beard and skin. In short, the technical control and the close observation of detail exhibited in this portrait is amazing.