Saturday, 18 February 2017

Charles Meryon’s etching, “L'ancien Louvre, d'après une peinture de Zeeman, 1651”


Charles Meryon (1821–68)
“L'ancien Louvre, d'après une peinture de Zeeman, 1651” (The old Louvre, from a painting by Zeeman, 1651), 1866, after a painting by Reinier Nooms, called Zeeman (1623 –67), printed by Vernant and published in “Byblis” (1922)

Etching on fine wove paper with watermark (fragment) and margins as published. Note that the plate was etched on the back of the cancelled plate, “Le Petit Pont, Paris”, featured in my previous post.
Size: (sheet) 22.4 x 28.2 cm; (plate) 16.4 x 26.2 x cm; (image borderline) 13.3 x 24.2 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) "Peinte par R. Zeeman"; (right) "Gravé par C. M. 1866"
Delteil+Wright 53; Schneiderman 1990 96

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The old Louvre, after Zeeman; elevated view across the river Seine to the palace and surrounding buildings, numerous figures seen beside water. 1866 Etching” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1444550&partId=1&searchText=l%27ancien+Louvre+d%27apres+une+peinture+de+Zeeman&page=1)

Condition: faultless impression in pristine condition.

I am selling this remarkably brooding etching of the old Louvre (after a painting by Zeeman) taken from the back of the same plate, “Le Petit Pont, Paris” featured in my previous post, for a total cost of AU$276 (currently US$211.51/EUR199.52/GBP170.60 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing a major print by (arguably) one of the most important of the 19th century etchers, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. (Note that I will be posting an impression from the back of the same plate, “Ancien Louvre” in my next listing)  

This print has been sold


The French Government commissioned Meryon to make this print as an interpretative copy of Zeeman’s (aka Reinier Nooms) painting in the Louvre collection (see http://l7.alamy.com/zooms/b5ae75e8d4044562b78d035acb931c2c/view-of-the-louvre-palace-paris-reinier-zeeman-c1623-c1668-dutch-painter-d96xpa.jpg). Sadly, it was executed only two years before he died after being committed to an asylum.

Although an artist’s mental health should not be a topic to dwell upon—after all, few artists would claim that they are unquestionably sane—in the case of Meryon, his anguish in suffering from deep melancholy and anxiety is fairly plain to see. In this print, for instance, I sense and underlying feeling of menace: a brooding grimness matching Wikipaedia’s description of Meryon’s hallucinations of seeing “enemies” waiting “for him at the corners of the streets” and friends that rob him (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_M%C3%A9ryon). Indeed, only eight years before Meryon had etched this print he had been committed to an asylum for his first internment after digging up his garden to find imaginary dead bodies and banishing a gun at visitors (see http://www.campbell-fine-art.com/artists.php?id=80).

Mindful that this print is ostensibly a graphic translation of Zeeman’s painting, the print is far from being an exact reproduction of the painting. For instance, Zeeman’s painting features heavily laden barges making their way along the Seine River, but Meyron’s interpretation of the same barges shows them as a raked in strong light so that they appear less like a flotilla and more like menacing claws. Similarly, Zeeman’s treatment of the sky features a soft canopy of clouds whereas Zeeman reinvents the clouds as solid lobulated forms. In short, Meryon has used Zeeman’s composition as a foundation upon which he has constructed a psychological self portrait of his manic fears in the guise of a scenic panorama.

For those interested in Meryon’s views of Paris, see my previous discussions: “Charles Meryon’s etching from the cancelled plate, ‘Le Petit Pont, Paris’” (http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2017/02/charles-meryons-etching-from-cancelled.html) and “Charles Meryon’s etching, ‘Bain-froid Chevrier’” (http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2016/10/charles-meryons-etching-bain-froid.html






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