Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Charles Waltner’s huge etching of Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch”, 1885


Charles-Albert Waltner (1846–1925)
“La Ronde de Nuit” (aka “The Night Watch”), 1885, after Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn’s (1606–69), “De Nachtwacht”, 1642, published by Goupil/Boussod, Valadon et cie (fl.1827–1919) and Michael Knoedler & Co (fl.1846–87) acting on behalf of Goupil in New York.

Etching, engraving, and roulette on cream chine collé on heavy white wove paper with large margins (as published) and blind stamped (lower right margin) with the seal of the Print Sellers Association.
Size: (sheet) 970 x 1085 cm; (plate) 812 x 940 cm; (chine collé) 789 x 922 cm; (image borderline) 690 x 838 cm

Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “PEINT PAR REMBRANDT / Berlin, Verlag von Boussod, Valadon & Co.”; (centre) “775 / LA RONDE DE NUIT / Publié par BOUSSOD, VALADON & Cie. Editeurs, successeurs de GOUPIL & CIE PARIS_LONDRES_LA HAYE.”; (right) “GRAVE PAR CH. WALTNER / [blind stamp of the Print Sellers Association “FN”] / NEW-YORK. Published by M. Knœdler & Co.”

Condition: This is huge print that is over a metre in length. The print is richly-inked and well-printed (i.e. it is superb!). The image is in faultless condition but the large margins show signs of use with tears (closed with archival tape applied verso), ruffled edges, a few pin holes and a water stain (?) passing across the lower margin away from the image.

I am selling this gigantic etching of Rembrandt’s celebrated masterpiece for the total cost of AU$460 (currently US$338.44/EUR310.78/GBP260.96 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this masterpiece of etching from the 19th century, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


According to Stephen Bann (2013) in “Distinguished Images: Prints in the Visual Economy of Nineteenth-Century France” Charles Waltner and Ferdinand Gaillard (1834–87) were two of the most adventurous printmakers at the close of the nineteenth century. I have discussed Gaillard’s exceptionally fine—almost microscopic—engraved line work previously, but the adventurous spirit of Waltner is far removed from the quiet, highly focused approach of Gaillard.

Probably the best spokesman for Waltner’s spirit is another highly acclaimed printmaker of the time, Félix Bracquemond (1833–1914) who proposed:

“[Waltner] brings together and appropriates for the reproduction of works of art, all available means, even those that, before him, were only used in original engraving and appeared incapable of being employed elsewhere.” (Bann, p. 200)

A good example of this gathering of “all available means” may be seen in the way that Waltner reproduces the subtle surface textures and details of the side drum played by the figure on the far right of the composition. What I admire in particular is the way that Waltner phrases my reading of the drum’s surface from finely rendered details picked out by the light, like the raised pattern of bumps shown on the “front” of the drum, to a matrix of multi-directional layered haptic strokes at the shadowy “sides’’ of the drum designed to suggest a loss of focal acuity.








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