Saturday, 17 June 2017

Alexandre Calame’s etching “Trees Overhanging a Pond”, 1845


Alexandre Calame (aka Alexandre Calam; Alexandre Calamy) (1810–64)
“Trees Overhanging a Pond”, 1845, from the series “Essais de gravure à l'eau forte par Alexandre Calame, III”, 1838/1850, incorporating four sets of landscape etchings (45 in total).

Etching on wove paper with full margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 27.5 x 39.6 cm; (plate) 11 x 16.2 cm; (image borderline) 10.5 x 15.8 cm
Signed by the artist in the plate at upper right corner.

Calabi & Schreiber-Favre 1937 30 (Calabi, A., and A. Schreiber-Favre. "Les eaux-fortes et les lithographies d'Alexandre Calame " Die graphischen Kunste 2 [1937]: IV, 50)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Riverscape; the branches of a tree are hanging over the water to left. 1845”
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:

Condition: richly inked faultless impression in pristine condition with full margins as published. The impression is set slightly off-square on the sheet.

I am selling this spectacularly beautiful etching in perfect condition executed by one of the most important of the Swiss landscape artists of the 19th century, for AU$144 (currently US$109.67/EUR98.18/GBP85.88 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 trees arched over water with the tiniest glimpses of sky peeking through the foliage, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


This must be one of the most unassuming and poetically magical prints of the 19th century. Of course, everyone has their own opinion of what a poetic image looks like and my comment that it is “unassuming” is entirely framed by personal ideas about what is understood by the word "unassuming", but I wonder how close I am to my view of this simply gorgeous print?

Let me explain what I like about it.

I like/love the way that Calame uses only tiny spots of light—like small windows—to illuminate the dense canopy of foliage hanging over the pond. For me, these glimpses of sky peeking through the trees are like jewels of light framed by the darkness surrounding them.

I also like the way that Calame has “moved in” on the scene by cropping the image so that the eye is focused on the screen of arched trees, or more specifically, the denseness of the trees. For me, this cropping of the foliage to only show the lower limbs of the trees ensures that the eye/brain—my eye/brain—is very conscious of the skeletal structure of the trees and to perceive the limbs as like supporting springs for the foliage canopy. In a sense this is where the poetry of the print arises: the expressed energy of the tree limbs in darkness.





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