Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Salomon de Caus (1576–1626) (designer); unidentified etcher
“Cave with fountain: Ball raised by a jet of water”, 1615, Plate 2 from Book 2 in “La raison des forces mouvantes” (The reason of the moving forces), published by John Norton (Frankfurt, 1615).
Etching with plate tone on fine laid paper with printed text and two woodcut prints verso.
From the 1624 edition (an attribution based on signs of light wear to the plate).
Size: (sheet) 32.3 x 22.9 cm; (plate) 30.8 x 21 cm; (image borderline) 29.2 x 20.3 cm
See illustrations from the 1624 edition of this book published by C Sevestre (Paris) at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b2100042f/f1.planchecontact
Condition: good impression of the etching (recto) with some wear to the plate and the woodcut prints (verso) are richly inked, crisp impressions. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains, abrasions or foxing).
I am selling this fascinating image of exceptional rarity designed by one of the most important engineers of the Baroque age who is famous for his fountains, follies and animated garden features—as seen in this amazing fountain design—for the total cost of AU$226 (currently US$168.03/EUR149.50/GBP130.45 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable design for a garden grotto exploring hydraulic principles of water jets and steam-driven pumps, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This startling image is a fountain designed by Salomon de Caus who is one of the most famous engineers of what the Met Museum describes as “automata or trick fountains and water jokes in the seventeenth-century garden” (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/49.122/). The fountain featured here is set in a grotto with a ball suspended on a single jet of water. What makes this particular fountain design very special is that it illustrates one of the first uses of steam driven pumps to create sufficient force that a ball could be shot skywards. In fact, the use of steam to drive devices such as this fountain was so novel and such an engineering feat that it earned de Caus the title of being the inventor of the steam engine. Sadly, he wasn’t the inventor as history has since proved, but at the time the hydraulic principles underpinning this jet of water and the eight water-spitting grotesque critters making merry havoc made de Caus a highly sought after designer for the French, German and English nobility.
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Daniel Hopfer (1471–1536)
“Design for Ornamental Ceiling” (Composition d’ornemens), c.1505–36, from the C. Wilhelm Silberberg (1802) edition
Etching on heavy wove paper with margins laid on a conservator’s support sheet
Size: (sheet) 22 x 29.3 cm; (plate) 15.8 x 23.6 cm
Signed with monogram at centre: “D H”
TIB 17 (8). 109 (500) (Walter L Strauss & Robert A Koch [Eds.] 1981, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 17, p. 180); Bartsch VIII.500.109; Hollstein 120.I; Funck 136; Eyssen 113
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Ornament panel with various ceiling designs; a candelabra motif along upper edge; a semi-circle at lower centre, surrounded by four segments with birds, female half-length figures, cherubs, etc among foliage.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1520976&partId=1&people=120691&peoA=120691-2-60&page=1)
Condition: richly inked, crisp impression with generous margins in excellent condition, laid onto a conservator’s sheet of fine washi paper.
I am selling this iron etching by the legendary Daniel Hopfer—the first artist to use etching for prints on paper—for the total cost of AU$174 (currently US$129.57/EUR116.08/GBP100.64 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this ornamental design from the Renaissance era, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
Tonight’s discussion didn’t go to plan as the print that I had intended to talk about—a stunning Japanese woodblock print by the legendary Utagawa Hiroshige—needed too much research and I simply ran out of time. Consequently, I’m back to showing a much easier to research print by the first artist to make an etching (in the sense of a formal print) the equally legendary Daniel Hopfer.
The reason that I mentioned my plan to discuss Hiroshige is not incidental as at the moment my brain is still back to thinking about how the compositions underpinning Japanese prints are designed to be read and how the Japanese approach to design is so different to my own—the Western approach.
To explain what I mean, when I look at this Hopfer I can see a considerable difference of intention even concerning seemingly trivial issues. For instance, Japanese prints do not rely on the same Western conventions of light and shade to render form. Indeed, with the exception of only one print that I can recall—and it was copying Western conventions and so it doesn’t really count—no traditional Japanese print uses side lighting. By contrast, in the case of this Hopfer, the rendering of forms (e.g. the mermaids featured on the left) show clear use of side lighting to make their bodies seem three-dimensional. I must hasten to mention, however, that Hopfer use of side lighting is inconsistent as the mermaids are lit for the top right, whereas the bird flapping its winds below the mermaids is lit from the bottom right. Of course, as this is a design created for ceilings, Hopfer choice to use light coming from a range of directions is fully understandable given that the design is for rooms with unknown light sources.
Monday, 29 May 2017
Hieronymus Wierix (aka Hieronymus Wierx; Jerome Wierix) (1553–1619)
“Christ before Caiaphas”, 1571, book illustration from “Humanae Salutis Monumenta” (Antwerp), after the design by Pieter van der Borcht (c.1535–1608)
Engraving on fine laid paper with text (recto and verso).
Size: (leaf) 15.5 x 9.6 cm; (plate) 11.5 x 7.3 cm
Alvin 1866 1625 (L Alvin 1886, “Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre des trois frères Jan, Jérome et Antoine Wierix”, Brussels); Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1979 2204 (Marie Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1978, “Les Estampes des Wierix ... catalogue raisonné”, 4 vols., Brussels, Bibliotheque Royale Albert Ier); Hollstein 3.21.I.(32) (Wierix; Book Illustrations) (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam)
The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Christ before Caiaphas; Christ seen standing to right, with his hands tied; soldiers seen pushing him before Caiaphas, seen seated under a canopy to left” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3054925&partId=1&searchText=wierix+Caiaphas&page=1)
Condition: rich and crisp impression with margins (varying from 1.1–2.1 cm) in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no stains, foxing, tears, holes, folds or abrasions and age toning is minimal).
I am selling this small treasure from the Renaissance period for AU$218 (currently US$162.16/EUR144.90/GBP126.20 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this example of engraving of the highest order, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
Most printmaking folk already know about the Wierix brothers (Hieronymus, Johannes and Anton II) as they are celebrated for the fine quality of their prints—as exemplified in this remarkably sensitive engraving. What may not be so well known is that despite their sublime skills and exceptional discipline needed to craft prints of the highest order, they were fundamentally what might be described as “bad boys.” To clarify what I mean by this derogatory label, according to Carl Van de Velde (see entry for "Wierix" in Grove Art Online) in 1569 Hieronymous’ employer and famous publisher of the time, Christophe Plantin, “complained to the Jesuit priest Ferdinand Ximenes that whoever wanted to employ the Wierix brothers had to look for them in the taverns, pay their debts and fines and recover their tools, since they would have pawned them.” Moreover, Plantin also wrote that “after having worked for a few days the brothers would return to the tavern.” Bad boys to be sure!! If this behaviour wasn’t bad enough, in a drunken stupor Hieronymus even killed a woman in 1578—unforgivable!
Beyond the reputation for trouble that the brothers seem to have acquired, trouble also lurked in Hieronymus’ intimate family as well. According to Erik Duverger (1985) in “Antwerp Art Inventories of the Seventeenth Century”, his daughter, Christina, married the engraver Jan-Baptist Barbé, who had his “other” daughter Cecilia (his sister-in-law) declared insane in order to claim her inheritance—a set of Dürer drawings (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hieronymus_Wierix).
Sunday, 28 May 2017
Abraham Genoels (aka Archimedes; Abraham Genoels II; Abraham Genoel; A. G.) (1640–1723)
“Road by a Rocky Slope” (TIB title), c.1680, from a series of six etchings of landscapes (see BM S.2708–2721).
Etching on fine laid paper with margins.
Size: (sheet) 18.5 x 23.2 cm; (plate) 13.1 x 15.9 cm; (image borderline) 12.4 x 15.4 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) "A. Genoels, fé.”; (right) Cum. priuil. Reg."
TIB 5 (4). 38 (347) (Walter L Strauss [Ed.] 1979, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 5, Abaris Books, New York, p. 327); Bartsch IV.348.38.I (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna); Regnault-Delalande 1817 149.38 (F-L Regnault-Delalande 1817, “Catalogue Raisonné des Estampes du Cabinet de M le Comte Rigal”, Paris, chez l'auteur); Weigel 1843 211.38.I (Rudolph Weigel 1843, “Suppléments au Peintre-Graveur de Adam Bartsch”, Vol.I, Leipzig, Rudolph Weigel); Hollstein 38.I (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam)
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Landscape with figures walking on a road in the centre, a pyramid and a round temple beyond the road, trees on the left, a lake or a river to the right, mountains in the background; from a series of six prints showing landscapes” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3036312&partId=1&searchText=Genoels&images=true&page=1)
State i (of ii?) before the address of the publisher (Adam François van der Meulen) inscribed in the second state; see a copy of the second state at the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3036312&partId=1&searchText=Genoels&images=true&page=1
Condition: near faultless impression with generous margins in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds or abrasions, but there are a few light marks from use—more on the back than the front of the sheet).
I am selling this small but beautifully luminous print for AU$218 (currently US$162.29/EUR145.19/GBP126.85 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this very rare etching by Genoels (mindful that all etchings by this highly sought after artist are rare), please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
In an earlier post regarding a circular print, “Tobias and the Angel”, I discussed the British Museum’s attribution of that particular print to Genoels rather than to Chiboust and argued that Genoels’ style seemed to be at odds with the treatment of line shown in the circular print. In that discussion I offered a few broad generalisations about Genoels’ style by proposing that his line work has the attribute of what artist’s term as “openness” (i.e. Genoels draws his subjects loosely and freely leaving lots of paper showing between each stroke as opposed to a style where the line work is tightly controlled and densely laid). I also made the rather sweeping comment that “Genoels’ trees are usually represented with rounded strokes that give the foliage a rather fluffy look.” Of course, not everyone would agree with this assessment—life would be a dull place if everyone agreed with generalisations—but to my eyes this etching has the “rounded strokes” in the foliage that I was visualising at the time.
If I were to point out just a single feature in this print that illustrates why Genoels is a master draughtsman it would be the treatment of light and shade exhibited on the rock face next to the figures in the middle distance. My reason for choosing this particular rock face is that true masters like Genoels know that a rock lit with strong light will seem solid if the shadow side of the rock is shaded so that its darkest aspect lies at the line of transition separating the rock’s shadow side from its lit side. If one looks closely at the pattern of light and shade on this rock face this adjustment of tone is clear. Going further, note also how Genoels applies the same principle by darkening the foliage behind the lit side of the rock.
Saturday, 27 May 2017
Franz Edmund Weirotter (aka Franz Edmund Weyrotter; Franz Edmund Weirauter; Franz Edmund Weyherolter) (1733–71)
Seven plates from “Suite de XVIII Paysages dessinés à Lagny sur Marne proche Meaux en Brie” (Suite of XVIII Landscapes drawn in Lagny sur Marne near Meaux en Brie) printed on the same sheet as published in the Basan & Poignant's (fl.1773–88) 1775 edition, “Œuvre De F. E. Weïrotter, Peintre Allemand, Mort à Vienne en 1771. Contenant près de deux cent Paysages & Ruines, dessinés d'après nature, tant en France qu'en Italie, & gravés à l'eau-forte avec beaucoup de goût, par lui-même” (Work of FE Weirotter, German painter, Death in Vienna in 1771. Containing nearly two hundred Landscapes and Ruins, drawn from nature, both in France and Italy, and engraved with etching with great taste, by himself), Paris.
Etchings laid paper as published by Basan & Poignant
Size: (sheet) 38.6 x 25 cm
Reference: Thilo Winterberg1998, “Franz Edmund Weirotter, der Landschaftsradierer”, Heidelberg; G.K Nagler 1835–52, “Neues allgemeines Kunstler-Lexicon” (list and description of Weirotter's etchings)
See also the descriptions by the British Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts about the publication in which this sheet is featured: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3348106&partId=1&searchText=weirotter+Basan+&+Poignant&page=1 and http://www.racollection.org.uk/ixbin/indexplus?record=O4171&_IXlink=y
Condition: crisp impressions in pristine condition with margins as published.
I am selling this museum quality sheet of 7 original prints by one of the most famous of the 18th century landscape printmakers for AU$570 (currently US$424.34/EUR379.62/GBP331.68 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable and very rare suite of etchings all printed on the same sheet, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This sheet of 7 prints published in Paris by François Basan (1723–97) & Etienne Léon Poignant’s (fl.1773–91) Poignant’s “Oeuvre de F.E. Weirotter, Peintre Allemande …” (1775) is part of a posthumous edition incorporating 127 pages of prints featuring 238 plates in total. Not all of the sheets feature prints by Weirotter as there is an engraved portrait frontispiece of Weirotter by his friend Jakob Schmutzer (1733–1811) and 19 other prints by other artists after Weirotter’s designs. Most of the pages showcase multiple prints like this one (albeit with far fewer prints arranged on the sheet as the plates are larger) with the impressions having been printed from the etching plates directly onto the page. Nevertheless, there are a few larger prints that are on paper glued onto the pages.
According to the curator of the British Museum, “Bsasan [sic] acquired all Weirotter's plates from his estate, after his death in 1771” and points out that the date of the Basan & Poignant’s edition (viz. 1775) is based on a manuscript note tipped into the volume held by the BM. The curator also advises that Basan & Poignant “acquired from other sources impressions of those prints of which the plates were lacking and these are the ones that have been pasted in.” Regarding the 19 additional prints executed by other artists after Weirotter’s designs, the curator makes the interesting comment that there “were either from plates that Bassan alreay [sic] owned, or were bought in from the publishers that owned then [sic]” (see BM: 1855,0609.1566-1803).
Friday, 26 May 2017
Master of the Die (fl.1522-33) (purported by the “Benezit Dictionary of Artists”  to be Bernardo Daddi [fl.c.1530–60], but the BM also argues that the artist may be Tommaso Vincidor [1493–1536])
Three engraving from the series of four prints published by Antoine Lafréry (c.1512–77). The curator of the BM advises that the series were “taken from part of a set of eight tapestries of games of putti woven for Leo X in Flanders in 1521 under the supervision of Tommaso Vincidor …The designs have been ascribed to Giovanni da Udine, using ideas from Raphael.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1468125&partId=1&searchText=1874,0808.272&page=1)
“Two Putti … Striking Another Who is Squeezing a Child” (Bartisch title) 1530–60, engraving on heavy laid paper. Size: (sheet) 23.5 x 33.0 cm; (plate) 21.2 x 28.5 cm; (image borderline) 20.5 x 28 cm. State iii (of iii) with the address of Lafrery and the inscription, “Tapezzerie del Papa”. Signed with monogram at lower left corner. Lettered at lower edge: (left) “RAPHA . VR . IN”; (centre) “Tapezzerie del Papa”; (right) “ANT LAFRERII . FORMIS”. TIB 29 . 35-II[I] ) (Suzanne Boorsch [Ed.] 1982, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 29, Abaris Books, New York, p. 192). The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Two putti holding a bow and an arrow standing behind an elaborate garland striking another putto who is squeezing a child in front of the garland, three birds fly above, from a series of four” (BM number: V,6.55)
“Three Putti Playing with an Ostrich” (Bartisch title) 1530–60, engraving on heavy laid paper. Size: (sheet) 23.3 x 34 cm; (plate) 21.1 x 28.5 cm; (image borderline) 18.4 x 28 cm. State iii (of iii) with the address of Lafrery and the inscription, “Tapezzerie del Papa”. Signed with monogram at lower left corner. Lettered at lower edge: (left) “RAPHA . VR . IN Tapezzerie del Papa”; (right) “ANT . LAFRERII . FORMIS” TIB 29 . 33-II[I] ) The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Three putti before a large garland, the one in the middle rides an ostrich, the one at the right pull a feather from its tail and one below crouches holding its leg, from a series of four” (BM number: V,6.54)
“Putti Playing” (Bartisch title) 1530–60, engraving on heavy laid paper. Size: (sheet) 23 x 34.5 cm; (plate) 18.8 x 28.5 cm; (image borderline) 20.8 x 28 cm. State iii (of iii). Signed with monogram at the feet of the putti second from the right. Lettered at lower edge: (left) “Tapezzerie del Papa”. TIB 29 . 30- [III] ) The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Eight putti, the one in the middle holds an apple to his eye, one at the right goes to throw and arrow and in the lower left two make a garland” (BM number: 1875,0710.141)
Condition: crisp and well-printed impressions with margins as published. The sheets are in remarkably good condition for their age, but there are small printer’s creases on the upper and lower plates.
I am selling this set of three exceptionally rare engravings by the 16th century printmaker whose work is signed with a symbol of a dice—hence the artist’s descriptive title, “Master of the Die”—for AU$520 each, totalling AU$1560 (currently US$1161.40/EUR1038.18/GBP907.92 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this set of romantic engravings from the Renaissance era created only a few decades after the death of Raphael upon whose designs they are based, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
These prints have been sold
I am not an authority on the history of tapestry, but as these prints are based on tapestry designs I thought that a look at Thomas P Campbell’s (Ed.) (2008) “Tapestry in the Baroque” would be advisable so that I could learn about the use of putti in 16th century tapestries and whether any mention was made specifically about these prints.
The first thing that I realised is the distinction made between images of little boys running amuck and little boys with tiny wings running amuck. They are definitely not the same: their motivations may be equally mischievous but perceived differently. For instance, Guilio Romano’s designs showing naked boys picking fruit and playing among trees I understand are “poetic” while the putti—naked boys with wings—are “sensuous.” Although I am not completely certain what attributes mark naked boys as being “poetic”, the description of one cheeky boy “in a tree urinating” may hint at what fits into this category. With regard to putti, I was more successful in finding insights into the Renaissance mindset of Leo X about naked winged boys, after all it was this pope who originally commissioned Raphael’s designs on which these prints are based.
At the time that Raphael was creating these designs for Leo X, the Church was facing a momentous crisis: the Protestant Reformation. I understand that Leo X saw his role as akin to being a careful helmsman on a ship—the ship being the Church—navigating his “vessel” to safety. Indeed, such an analogy was crystallised by Giovanni da Udine as the “ship of Venus, with nymphs and Cupids aboard, sailing on quiet waters, escorted by Neptune” (Campbell 2008, p. 404). Essentially, after reflecting on the use of putti I now realise that they are more than token symbols of mythological “love.” These naked winged boys may be visual representations of Leo X’s way of looking at his world; a world of mischievous intrigues that he was steering through as God’s helmsman.
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Abraham Genoels (aka Archimedes; Abraham Genoels II; Abraham Genoel; A. G.) (1640–1723) (attribution by the British Museum) or B. Chiboust (fl.1678–90) after Abraham Genoels (attribution by Joconde: Portal of the Collections of the Museums of France).
“Tobias and the Angel” (descriptive title only), 1659-90, from a series of 6 circular landscapes published by Adam François van der Meulen (1632–90).
(Note: the British Museum proposes the date for this print to be between 1659 and 1690 but this attribution may not have taken into account that Meulen published Genoels’ prints between 1675 and 1691.)
Etching on wove paper lined onto a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 20.5 x 20.1 cm; (plate) 18.1 x 18.1 cm; (diameter of image borderline) 17.5 cm
Lettered in lower left corner: "V. Meulen ex. cum priuil. Regis"
Not described in Bartsch or Hollstein
The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Landscape with, in centre foreground, a man (Tobias?) standing on a path and addressing an angel; beyond two nude figures standing at centre; from a series of six; within circle” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3079012&partId=1&searchText=meulen&page=2)
Joconde: Portal of the Collections of the Museums of France offers details about this print and the six other prints in the series: http://www.culture.gouv.fr/public/mistral/joconde_fr?ACTION=CHERCHER&FIELD_3=AUTR&VALUE_3=CHIBOUST%20B
Condition: richly inked impression in excellent condition with small margins (varying but approximately 1 cm). The sheet is laid upon a conservator’s support sheet.
I am selling this very romantic landscape with the featured biblical subject of Tobias addressed by an Angel for AU$154 (currently US$114.95/EUR102.59/GBP88.75 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this beautiful print glowing with light, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
This print has driven me crazy and the reason is all about my attempt to establish the name of the printmaker responsible for its execution. At first I thought that my research had come to an end when I found that the British Museum named the etcher as Abraham Genoels and advised that the print was part of a six plate series published by Van der Meulen (as inscribed on the plate). Sadly, my joy was short lived and doubt set in when I read the BM’s advice that the print was not listed in the catalogue raisonné on Genoels offered by Bartsch or Hollstein. The fact that these sources did not have the print listed is not in itself a problem as both august authorities are known to have shortfalls in their collections of data (for example, in my last post I commented about the error in Bartsch that has not been corrected in TIB regarding Diana Scultori’s name). My consternation is that Joconde: Portal of the Collections of the Museums of France attributes this print and the five others in the series to a somewhat obscure late 17th century printmaker called B. Chiboust. Indeed this artist is so obscure that the Philadelphia Museum of Art shows the first initial of the name as a “P” rather than a “B.” (see http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/79806.html?mulR=1021048225%7C2).
Now that I have found a disquieting conflict of opinions about the true identity of the printmaker I feel no apprehension about offering my own opinion.
To my eyes this is not a print by Genoels. Genoels did execute seven circular compositions at the start of his career as a printmaker (see TIB 5 .1  to 7 ) along with a few prints with rounded sections and at least one oval print, but there is a vast difference in the open handling of these formally accredited prints by Genoels and the tightly controlled mimetic style of this print. I also wish to draw attention to the treatment of the portrayed figures in the sense that Genoel’s figures are well-rounded whereas here the figures are slim, attenuated and puckered—to borrow an earlier description of Aldegrever’s treatment of figures. Even the treatment of trees and foliage is different. Genoels’ trees are usually represented with rounded strokes that give the foliage a rather fluffy look whereas here the foliage is rendered with almost mechanically aligned strokes giving the trees a rather spiky appearance.