Monday, 8 May 2017

Henri Guérard’s etching of Manet’s painting, “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère”, 1884


Henri Guérard (aka Henri Charles Guérard; Henri-Charles Guérard) (1846–97)
“Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère” (A Bar at the Folies-Bergère), 1884, after the famous painting of the same name by Édouard Manet (1832–83) executed in 1882 and in the collection of the Courtauld Gallery (since 1934), printed by L Eudes (fl.1876-88) and published in the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts” (1884)

Etching on cream wove paper with small margins and laid onto a support sheet of heavy white wove paper (Dutch Etch).
Size: (sheet) 17.7 x 22.3 cm; (plate) 16.5 x 21 cm; (image borderline) 14 x 18.8 cm
Inscribed within the image borderline: (lower left) “H. GUERARD dapres MANET.”
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “Manet pinx. / Gazette des Beaux-Arts.”; (centre) “UN BAR AUX FOLIES-BERGÈRE”; (right) “H. Guerard sc. / Imp. Eudes.”


Condition: well-inked and well-printed impression with small margins pasted onto a support sheet of white archival paper to provide generous margins. The sheet is in pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, stains, folds, holes abrasions or foxing).

I am selling this etched translation of Manet’s final great masterpiece for the total cost of AU$122 (currently US$90.40/EUR82.59/GBP69.75 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this amazing graphic transcription of paint into printed line, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


I suspect that Guérard would love today’s digital tools that give artists the facility to refine their marks. After all, this image is all about finding the “right” type of lines—in terms of their thickness, length, shape, flow, opacity and tone—with which to transcribe the colour and brushstrokes used in Manet’s famous painting.

Indeed, this is a very difficult painting to represent using only lines. This is because the image is essentially all about visual ambiguities, especially the mirror reflections behind the barmaid. For example, the vertical plane of the balcony reflected on the left side of the image is not a flat plane at all. Instead, I see it as an amalgam of cigarette smoke, reflected glare and gentle distortions created by the physically warped mirror itself. If the marks in this area—negative/white lines rendered in zigzags, vertically aligned abraded lines and finely laid positive/black horizontal lines—are compared with the background reflections further beyond the balcony the skill of Guérard to “find” appropriate lines and configurations of lines becomes apparent.

Returning to my original pondering, perhaps I am wrong to wish the digital world on any artist with Guérard’s skills. Nevertheless, I can envisage this master printmaker using a digital stylus in much the same way as he works with an etching needle only with far more control as he sensitively adjusts each line.







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