Saturday, 21 January 2017

Joseph Alfred Annedouche’s engraving after William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s “Innocence”


Joseph Alfred Annedouche (aka Alfred Joseph Annedouche) (1833–1922), after
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (aka Adolphe William Bouguereau) (1825–1905)
“Innocence”, 1895, printed by Adolphe Ardail (1835-1911) and Alfred Salmon (fl. 1863–94), published by Arthur Tooth, London, 1895.

Etching on chine collé on heavy wove paper, hand- signed in pencil by both Annedouche and Bouguereau and with the Printseller Association's blind stamp at lower left with full margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 65.5 x 21.8 cm; (plate) 52.8 x 28 cm; (chine collé) 50.7 x 27 cm; (image borderline) 41.6 x 21.5 cm
Lettered with publication details above the image borderline: “Copyright 1895 by Mefs rs Arthur Tooth & Sons, Publishers, 5 & 6 Haymarket, London, 295 Fifth Avenue, New York, & Mefs rs Stiefbold & Co, Berlin, Printed by Mefs rs. A. Salmon & Ardail, Paris.”

Condition: near faultless impression with large margins, hand-signed in pencil and in good condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes or folds). Nevertheless, there is a scattering of pale foxing.

I am selling this exceptionally large engraving after a painting by Bouguereau—one of the most famous of the 19th century French Salon painters and renowned for his academic interpretation and reinvention of classical myths—for the total cost of AU$495 (currently US$373.92/EUR349.77/GBP302.40 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this incredibly rare signed print by not only the engraver but also by the great master, Bouguereau, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 

Artists may be incredibly famous in one century and almost forgotten in the next as tastes change. This is certainly the case with Bouguereau. He was esteemed as one of the finest academic painters of the Paris Salon in the nineteenth century with reviews such as:
"M. Bouguereau has a natural instinct and knowledge of contour. The eurythmie of the human body preoccupies him, and in recalling the happy results which, in this genre, the ancients and the artists of the sixteenth century arrived at, one can only congratulate M. Bouguereau in attempting to follow in their footsteps. Raphael was inspired by the ancients and no one accused him of not being original." (http://www.bouguereau.org/biography.html)

With the shifts of public attention towards the avant-garde, however, his fame diminished and by the twentieth century he was far from being an artist to emulate. Indeed, the derogatory term, "Bouguereauté", was used by Degas and his colleagues to describe artworks that exhibited what they perceived to be Bouguereau’s style of "slick and artificial surfaces"—what we now call a “licked finish.” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William-Adolphe_Bouguereau). So cruel was the decline of esteem for Bouguereau, that even Paul Gauguin was thrilled to see several of Bougereau’s paintings in an Arles’ brothel “where they belonged” (ibid).

With the current re-emerging of interest in academic art, prints like this amazing engraving, are now being re-evaluated. What fascinates me is how artists like Bougereau contextualised the social values of their generation with the concocted subject matter of myth and imagery from a classical past. For instance, in this print the notion of innocence expressed in a somewhat cloying way by the young woman tenderly holding a sleeping child and fluffy lamb is set against and contextualised with a landscape heavily imbued with the love at the time for French forests—especially the forest of Fontainebleau. The reason that I have drawn attention to this forest background is because artists, or more specifically art students, in the nineteenth century were required as part of their training in the academies to be familiar with different tree types to meet examination requirements. This led to direct observation and studies of trees and in turn a deep appreciation of natural settings as shown here.








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