Monday, 20 February 2017
Manchon’s engraving, “The Charging Chasseur”, after Géricault
Gaston Albert Manchon (1855–1951; fl.1883–1900 according to Engen)
“The Charging Chasseur” (Officier de chasseurs à cheval de la garde impériale chargeant) (aka “An Officer of the Imperial Horse Guards Charging” and “Equestrian portrait of Lieutenant Dieudonné”), c.1880, after Théodore Géricault’s (1791–1834) painting dated 1812 and exhibited in the Salon of the same year (see http://www.culture.gouv.fr/public/mistral/joconde_fr?ACTION=CHERCHER&FIELD_1=REF&VALUE_1=000PE001304)
Engraving on light tan wove paper, stamped No. 47, hand-signed in pencil by Manchon with three remarque studies below the image borderline: at the lower left are two lightly engraved studies after Géricault and at the lower centre is a portrait of Géricault after a drawing executed in 1816 by Alexandre-Marie Colin (1798–1873) and a lithograph by Geillet executed in 1824.
Size: (sheet) 63 x 50 cm; (indistinct plate-mark) approx. 55.5 x 42 cm; (image borderline) 46.6 x 36.2 cm
Condition: An exceptionally large and superb remarque-proof impression of the utmost rarity hand-signed in pencil by the engraver. The sheet is lightly age-toned with minor handling marks but generally in excellent condition.
I am selling this magnificently executed engraving of one of Géricault’s most famous paintings for a total cost of AU$196 (currently US$150.41/EUR141.53/GBP120.58 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this large and visually arresting engraving, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. (Note that this is a large print and will be rolled in a tube for shipping)
This engraving of the equestrian portrait painted by Géricault, “The Charging Chasseur”, is as huge as the image of the dashing Lieutenant Alexandre Dieudonné with his cutlass in hand summonsing up support from the troops behind him (or whatever a chap does when turning around on a rearing horse in a battle) is famous. Mindful that there is a lot of easily accessed information about Géricault’s famous painting, I have decided to discuss something that often goes unnoticed in a remarque-proof impression like this: the tiny sketches engraved below the image borderline.
These lightly inscribed engraved drawings, called “remarques”, have been described as an engraver’s test drawings before working on the main image and as such they are later burnished away before the formal edition is printed for publication. Although this makes for a good story, these drawings are not arbitrary doodles of experimentation. Of course there are always exceptions to any generalisation and no doubt there have been artists who do use the outside border to make tiny sketches to hone their skills, but for the majority of artists who make “special” prints—remarque proofs—with these lightly drawn sketches the reason is simple: the tiny drawings are there to make money.
Arguably the first artist (another bold generalisation) to print these special remarque proofs was Whistler who perceived a market for collectors willing to pay extra for a print that was uniquely different to those of the standardised published editions.
Certainly by the late 1800s the use of remarques in the margins of prints was a well-established practice as the famous French artist/printmaker, Félix Bracquemond, explains to the equally famous artist/printmaker/publisher, Loÿs Delteil:
“To-day Monsieur Delteil, we have another remarque which recently came into vogue,—I do not quite know when, thought I have frequently engraved one. …a tiny etching or engraving in the lower margin which is thereafter referred to as the remarque, all proofs bearing it being termed “remarque proofs.” …It is neither an incident nor an accident. …The remarque is in fact an imbroglio and I have never really discovered what purpose it serves, although I have engraved many for a commission…” (Extract from the preface (n.p.) in Loys Delteil & Harold JL Wright 1907, “Charles Meryon: Catalogue Raisonné of the Etchings”).