Monday, 22 May 2017

Alexandre Calame’s etching, “Man resting by a stone wall”, 1840–50


Alexandre Calame (aka Alexandre Calam; Alexandre Calamy) (1810–64)
“Man resting by a stone wall”, 1840–50, from the series “Essais de gravure à l'eau forte par Alexandre Calame, I–IV”, 1838/1850, four sets of landscape etchings (45 in all).

Etching (with dot roulette) on chine collé on wove paper lined on a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 21.7 x 25.7 cm; (plate) 9.8 x 10.2 cm; (image borderline) 8.6 x 9.9 cm
Signed by the artist in the plate below the image borderline at right.

Calabi 1937, no. IV, 50 (Calabi, A., and A. Schreiber-Favre. "Les eaux-fortes et les lithographies d'Alexandre Calame " Die graphischen Kunste 2 [1937]: IV, 50); Daniela Laube Fine Art, Catalogue 6, 2009. no. 22.
See also the description of this print held by The National Gallery of Art and a scroll view of the other prints in the series:
http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.152418.html

Condition: crisp impression with generous margins in faultless condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, losses, stains, dirt or foxing). The print is laid onto a support sheet of fine washi paper.

I am selling this small and extremely beautiful etching by one of the most important of the Swiss landscape artists of the 19th century, for AU$134 (currently US$99.84/EUR89.40/GBP76.97 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this poetic image of a wooded landscape with the most minimal suggestion of a figure resting beside a road, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This evening I was hoping to post a handful of etchings by Calame, but my search to find them proved unsuccessful apart from this little nugget of visual poetry. Not that I am overly worried about my failure to find more Calame prints as this stunning etching exemplifies most of what I wished to discuss.

To give a context for why I like this print, I need to share my memory of being told as a youngster that when Constable painted trees he added dabs of white paint into their foliage to create the effect of light glimmering on water droplets on the leaves—a visual device referred to as “Constable’s snow.” This memory of Constable’s approach to giving the impression of sparkling light on leaves still plays on my mind and when I see other artist’s representations of trees I use Constable’s “solution” to representing the flickering light on foliage as a point of comparison.

In the case of Calame’s treatment of shimmering light on trees I think that he deserves a prize. To my eyes the foliage seems alive. Of course, Calame has not added snow-like specks of white like Constable did, but rather Calame has simulated the “look” of white dots to represent where light falls on the foliage mass using a woven matrix of curled marks and to represent the shadows he uses aligned parallel strokes.








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