Monday, 27 March 2017

Félix Buhot’s etching (with aquatint, drypoint and roulette), "Gardiens du Logis"


Félix Buhot (aka Félix Hilaire Buhot; Tohub) (1847-1898)  
"Gardiens du Logis" (The guardians of the house) aka "Les amis du Saltimbanque" (The friends of the mountebank), 1872–1891, published in “Revue de l'art ancien et modern”, 1902

Etching, aquatint, drypoint, roulette with plate tone on cream wove paper with full margins (as published)
Size: (sheet) 21.9 x 28.8 cm; (plate) 8.6 x 11.3 cm
Signed in the plate with Buhot’s owl monogram
State ii (of ii)

Bourcard 1899 76.III (Gustave Bourcard 1899, “Catalogue descriptif de son [Félix Buhot] oeuvre grave”, Paris, H Floury); Bourcard/Goodfriend 76 (G.Bourcard: cat.desc.de son oeuvre gravé, with additions and revisions by James Goodfriend [New York 1979])

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Two dogs and a donkey outside a caravan; with additional work all over the plate

Condition: crisp, richly inked impression in near pristine condition (there is a dot in the margin).

I am selling this small but beautiful etching by Buhot showcasing a wide variety of printmaking techniques for the total cost of AU$330 (currently US$252.29/EUR232.02/GBP200.24 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this genuine Buhot, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


If one were to compare the prints of Rembrandt and Buhot the outcome may be surprising. My interest in such a comparison is not that one artist is “better” than the other, but rather that the attitude to printmaking had changed from Rembrandt’s time in the 17th century to Buhot’s time in late 19th century. This notion of a change in attitude is all about the envisaged goal for an artwork.

Although I am not privy to know exactly what Rembrandt envisaged when he began a print, what I feel reasonably confident to propose is that he knew what he was looking for when he commenced a print and did his best to ensure that he achieved what he wanted when a plate was “finished.” This proposal may seem a rather trite thing to even mention as Rembrandt’s prints (e.g. “The Three Crosses”) clearly show how he evolved his etching plates through many states making adjustments, both subtle and major, until he achieved what he wanted. This seemingly obvious approach, however, is not necessarily the same for Buhot and many of the other experimental printmakers at the turn of the 19th century.

By comparison with Rembrandt’s approach of adjusting an image until it matched his purpose, Buhot’s approach was more about exploring what the process could deliver and allowing this creative font of ideas free play to “find” an image that satisfied his interests. In short, the “pushing and pulling” involved in creating an image was as much a part Buhot’s artwork as the meanings that may be found in the final artwork.

Of course, at a very fundamental level all artists are guided in their creative engagement when making images by a balance of calculation and intuition. The difference between the old masters, like Rembrandt, and the modern masters, like Buhot, is arguably about what the artists sought to crystallise in their images: a shift from visual communication to documenting experiential thinking.






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