Wednesday, 8 March 2017
Jacques Beltrand’s chiaroscuro woodcut after a bust by Rodin
Jacques Beltrand (aka Jacques Anthony Louis Beltrand) (1874–1977)
”Study of a sculpture after Rodin” (descriptive title only), early 1900s, proof state
Chiaroscuro woodcut, printed in two shades of brown on tissue paper laid onto a conservator’s support sheet hand-signed in ink by the artist
Size: (irregularly cut sheet) 17 x 12.5 cm
Lettered in the plate “J. Beltrand. / d’ap. RODIN”
Condition: excellent proof state impression on exceptionally fine tissue paper with minor abrasions and flattened folds, laid onto a support sheet
I am selling this small woodcut of great beauty for AU$226 (currently US$170.77/EUR161.75/GBP140.26 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this proof state print that may be unique as I have been unable to find another copy on the market, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
Very few prints catch the eye like this visually striking woodcut.
No doubt a great deal of its graphic strength rests with the subject portrayed: a sculpted bust of an antique figure kitted out with a Roman helmet by the legendary master, Auguste Rodin (1840 –1917). Beyond the subject, however, I am also struck by the feeling of grandeur—the feeling of a large-scale image—that this very small print projects.
In technical terms the expression of a grand scale is intimately connected to the chiaroscuro woodcut process employed (i.e. printing strong tonal contrasts using two different plates—light brown and dark brown—and the “white” of the paper). There is another more subtle device that I should mention: the length of the lines used. Finding the “right” line length is the secret to making an enormous mural seem to have human scale and, as shown here, making a small print seem to be as big as a mural. For those interested in the pseudo-science behind what constitutes a human scale of line in a composition (viz. lines that are an eighth of a composition’s longest length/aspect) see my earlier discussion: “Human Scale: Jacque & Legros” (17 June 2012) (http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2012/06/jacque-legros-human-scale.html)