Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Frédéric-Émile Simon’s lithograph, “Cascades d'Allerheiligen” (All Saints Waterfalls), c1840


Frédéric-Émile Simon (1805-1886)
“Cascades d'Allerheiligen” or “Wasserfälle von Allerheiligen”, c1840, published with three folds (see my attribution of the publisher in the discussion about this print), printed by E Simon & Fils (fl. 1840s) Strasbourg.

(Note that my attribution of this date is based on access to the waterfalls being opened to the public by a path having been constructed by the forestry department/authority in 1840—see the upper section of the image where a path is visible. Nevertheless, the falls were accessible before 1940 by use of ladders and these may also to be seen in the lower section of this image.)

Lithograph in two colours (black and light cream) on laid paper, published with three folds. The folds have been flattened and the sheet is lined onto a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 30.8 x 11.4 cm; (image borderline) 26.1 x 5.4 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “Cascades d'Allerheiligen”; “lith. E. Simon à Strasbourg / Wasserfälle von Allerheiligen”

Condition: faultless, well-printed impression with margins in excellent condition. There are flattened folds from the publication format and a few faint spots of foxing at the upper right. The sheet is laid upon a conservator’s support sheet of fine washi paper.

I am selling this remarkable lithograph of the All Saints Waterfalls (German: Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle) that Wikipedia advises is “located in the Black Forest on the territory of the town of Oppenau in the German state of Baden-Württemberg” for AU$114 (currently US$87.36/EUR75.10/GBP66.09 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this highly unusual topographical view of cascades where each level of the falls is at eye-level, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


From what I have been able to discover from records in IdRef (Identifiers and Repositories) regarding the origin of this exceptionally long vertical lithograph, is that it may have been extracted from either of these two publications (but there may be another that I have not discovered):

- “Map of the course of the Rhine from Basel to Lauterbourg”, published by the Department of Rhine Works in 1934, consisting of 18 plates commissioned by Mr Couturat at the expense of the Administration for Bridges and Roads (see: http://www.sudoc.fr/168430002)

- “Works of the Rhine …” (cartographic material) published by the Department of Rhine Works in 1853 in the 6th edition with lithographs by E Simon & Fils (see: http://www.sudoc.fr/168831147)

What makes this print so special is that it is a perfect example of how a skilful 19th century lithographer might represent the topographical complexity of stepped waterfalls. This is an amazing feat! What is interesting to compare this print with—and I admit that the comparison is a tad far flung—is Dujardin’s treatment of the tree discussed in my previous post. In Dujardin’s approach to representing a tall tree, he has determined where his eye-level is on the tree and above and below this point he gradually changes the curves of his contour strokes to match his angle of view. In the case of Simon’s representation of this trail of waterfalls, Simon has changed his angle of view with each waterfall so that each drop is at eye-level. This approach is, of course, highly appropriate for a typographical representation of the stepped falls but it is remarkably different to Dujardin’s intimately personal viewpoint.






Monday, 30 October 2017

Karel Dujardin’s etching, “Shepherdess Speaking to Her Dog”, 1653


Karel Dujardin (aka Karel Du Jardin; Carel Dujardin; Carel du Jardin; Bokkebaart) (1626–1678)
“Shepherdess Speaking to Her Dog” [La Bergère Parlant à son chien] (TIB title), 1653.

Etching on laid paper trimmed along the image borderline on the sides and bottom and well within the borderline at the top edge.
Size: (sheet) 16.2 x 21.9 cm
The state number of this impression is difficult to determine as the plate inscriptions which would help in the determination have been removed. Nevertheless, based on the quality of the impression this is not an early state, but the impression is better than some of the later states held by the BM; see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=J,28.54.

Hollstein 31.III (Hollstein, F W H, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam, 1949); Bartsch 1.183.31 (Bartsch, Adam, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna, 1803); TIB 1.31-1(183) (Walter L Strauss & Leonard J Slatles [eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol.1, p.176)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Landscape with a seated shepherdess and her dog, facing front and looking down at the dog, a tree in shadow at left, a resting cow and three sheep at right, behind a fence the ground rises into the distance, the slope is dotted with groups of trees and shrubs, a large house on the hilltop at right”

Condition: crisp and well-printed impression, trimmed along the image borderline on the sides and bottom and well within the borderline at the top edge. There are replenished losses at the upper corners and the lower right corner. The sheet is laid upon a conservator’s support sheet of fine washi paper.

I am selling this quietly beautiful etching of a shepherdess having a deep and meaningful chat with her dog for AU$132 (currently US$101.34/EUR87.04/GBP76.96 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this rarely seen print in today’s art market, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.



There are so many features in this print that could be discussed. See, for example, the amazing treatment of foliage in the distant trees or the empathy that Dujardin must have felt with rural folk to portray a shepherdess absently talking with her dog. Rather than the clearly very special features such as these, I have decided to discuss something that to me is the hallmark of a great artist: the insightful way that Dujardin employs contour strokes to render the form of the tree on the far left.

What I find very revealing about Dujardin’s contour strokes on this tree is not just that the lines pictorially “wrap” around the tree trunk in elliptical curves to “explain” the girth of the trunk, but that the lines are arranged in changing elliptical patterns matching the changing viewpoint in which the trunk is seen; viz, “downward” curved elliptical contours at the base; almost horizontal contours at eye-level; “upward” curved elliptical contours at the top.







Sunday, 29 October 2017

Adriaen van Ostade’s etching, “Woman Winding Skeins”, c1684


Adriaen van Ostade (aka Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade) (1610–1685)
“Woman Winding Skeins” (La dévideuse à la porte de sa maison) (TIB title), c1684

Etching and drypoint in black ink on cream laid paper trimmed to the image borderline and lined onto washi paper inlaid into archival wove paper. (Note: regarding the colour of the ink in this impression, the curator of the BM makes the following interesting comment: “impressions printed in red ink are considered eighteenth-century impressions.”  [see BM no. 1877,1013.300])
Size: (support sheet) 27.2 x 20.5 cm; (image borderline) 9.5 x 7.7 cm
Inscribed at lower right with the artist's initials in van Ostade’s monogram signature, “Av.o”.
State iv (of vi). Note: I have attributed this impression to state iv as it matches the state iv impression in the BM (see BM no. 1980,U.1689).

TIB 1.25_1 (363) (Walter L Strauss & Leonard J Slatkes [eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol.1, p.340); Hollstein 25.IV; Bartsch I.363.25
See also P van der Coelen 1998, “Everyday life in Holland's Golden Age: The Complete Etchings of Adriaen van Ostade”, ex. cat. Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, no.26.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“A woman winding yarn at her doorway, in conversation with a man; in arched design.”

Condition: near faultless, museum quality, richly inked and well-printed crisp impression in near pristine condition trimmed to the image borderline and laid upon a washi paper support sheet that is innovatively inlaid/cradled within an archival sheet of heavy wove paper. This is a spectacularly good print mounted beautifully.

I am selling what may be the final etching executed by one of the most important artists of the Dutch Golden Age for AU$223 (currently US$171.41/EUR147.60/GBP130.56 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this superb print, 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


Arguably this is van Ostade’s last etching. I understand that the issue of whether it is or not rests on solely on the date, 1684, shown on a watercolour of the same subject executed by van Ostade now in the Fondation Custodia, Institut Néerlandais, Paris (see S William Pelletier, Leonard J Slatkes & Linda Stone-Ferrier 1994, “Adriaen van Ostade: Etchings of Peasant Life in Holland’s Golden Age”, ex. cat. Georgia Museum of Art, p.144). According to Pelletier (1994) “this closely related watercolor suggests that the etching may be of the same period, and if so, then it is Ostade’s last etching” (p.144).

If this print is indeed van Ostade’s last etching then it demonstrates very clearly that this great master of the Dutch Golden Age never lost his “touch” even at the end of his career of capturing in a believable way the spirit of everyday folk engaged in everyday tasks. 








Saturday, 28 October 2017

Karel Dujardin’s etching, “Two Donkeys”, 1652


Karel Dujardin (aka Karel Du Jardin; Carel Dujardin; Carel du Jardin; Bokkebaart) (1626–1678)
“Two Donkeys” (Les deux ȃnes) (TIB title), 1652

Etching on laid paper with small margins lined onto a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 15.4 x 13.8 cm; (plate) 14.8 x 13.3 cm
Inscribed at top right: "K. D [reversed]. I. f / 1652" with the number “6” at lower-right corner

Hollstein 6.IV (Hollstein, F W H, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam, 1949); Bartsch I.167.6 (Bartsch, Adam, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna, 1803); TIB 1.6-1(167) (Walter L Strauss & Leonard J Slatkes [eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 1, p. 176)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Two asses, the first standing in profile facing right, the second seen head-on standing at right, a house with chimney in background; fourth state with number. 1652”

Condition: delicate, crisp impression—a stronger impression than the state iv impression held by the British Museum (see BM no. S.824)—with replenished losses (see the upper corners) and tears (now virtually invisible) and laid upon a conservator’s support sheet of fine washi paper. There is a significant patina of handling marks and age toning. This “patina” of the print’s history has been retained rather than being addressed by restoration as the colour and tone acquired over the centuries is beautifully subtle and would be a shame to lose.

I am selling this insightfully drawn etching of two donkeys/mules with their ears alert to the sounds around them—note how the foreground donkey is listening to the roaming dog in the distance—for AU$132 (currently US$101.46/EUR87.37/GBP77.28 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small etching revealing Dujardin’s delicacy of touch when drawing and his understanding of the mercurial elements that make animals appear to be living and “real”, 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


Like his contemporary, Rembrandt, Dujardin had the same remarkable gift to metaphorically breathe “life” into his portrayed subjects. For instance, Dujardin is able to instil a living spirit into his representation of these donkeys by suggesting with just the single raised back leg of the foreground donkey that the animal has been standing for too long in the same position and is taking pressure of its legs. Dujardin is even able to suggest that the same donkey is thinking by angling its ears in the direction of the wandering dog in the distance.

What makes Dujardin’s etchings very different to those of Rembrandt, however, is the way that light is expressed. For example, Rembrandt is famous for his use of theatrical lighting—termed chiaroscuro—where strong light and equally strong shadow create meaningful tensions in a scene. By contrast, Dujardin uses ambient light (i.e. scattered light) to pervade a scene with a feeling of endless space and warmth.






Friday, 27 October 2017

Gabriel Smith’s crayon-manner engraving, “Study of Three Hands”, 1765


Gabriel Smith (1724–c1783)
“Study of Three Hands”, 1765, Plate 18 from the sixty engraved plates in "The School of Art" published in London in 1765 by Carington Bowles (1724–1793), John Bowles (1701?–1779) and Robert Sayer (1725–1794).

Crayon-manner with engraving and etching, printed in brown ink on laid paper with margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 36 x 25 cm; (plate) 32.7 x 22.5 cm
Lettered in the plate: (upper right of centre) “N 18”; (lower left) "SG [monogram]"; (lower right) "Gabl Smith fc"

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 18: study of three hands: back of a left hand facing down at top left, left hand up at top right, back of right hand to the right below.”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression in marvellously preserved condition (i.e. there are light signs of handling in terms of a few surface marks, otherwise the sheet is free of tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing). There are pencil notations from previous collectors (verso).

I am selling this large sheet of studies of hands designed for advanced art students in the late 1700s to copy for a total cost of AU$118 (currently US$90.19/EUR77.65/GBP68.86 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this sheet of stunningly beautiful studies, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This page of exquisite studies of hands is from a book of engravings (published in 1765) that were executed in the crayon manner (i.e. using a roulette tool that creates dotted strokes mimicking chalk lines) designed for close examination and copying by art students.

Although the short version of the title of the book is simply “The School of Art” the alternative title featured on the British Museum’s copy (see BM no 165.b.7) is much more revealing regarding the publishers’ envisaged scope of the book:
“most compleat [sic] / drawing-book / extant: / consisting of an extensive series of well chosen examples, / selected from the designs of those eminent masters / Watteau, Boucher, Bouchardon, Le Brun, Eisen, &c. &c. / engraved on sixty folio copper plates, / and performed in a method which expresses the manner of handling the chalk, and / the management and harmony of its tints in real drawings.”

The table of contents is also revealing in that according to the curator of the BM: “there is a sub-series titled: ‘12 heads, selected from Monsr Le Brun's passion of ye soul’" (1891,0511.316.25-36).

Regarding this page of studies, I had a fruitful chat this morning with my live-in polymath who argued with my view that studies of women’s hands should reflect the fact ladies ALWAYS examine their fingernails by holding the palm of their hand away from them (i.e. they look at their hands from the "back"). By contrast, manly men look at their fingernails by turning the palm of their hand towards them and curling the hand. I went on to point out that this difference also affected the way that women and men light matches: women strike a match away from them whereas manly blokes strike a match towards them. I am sometimes wrong of course … and when my polymath produced a box of matches so that I could demonstrate the manly man approach I have to admit that I had a slight fear of setting myself on fire.






Thursday, 26 October 2017

Joseph Fratrel’s etching, “Allegory on Navigation”, c1776


Joseph Fratrel I (1730–1783)

“Allegory on Navigation” (aka “Navigation”), c1776, from the series of 17 plates, involving mixed techniques of etching and drypoint, published in posthumous albums by Anton von Klein (1746–1810) in 1799 in  “l'Oeuvre de Joseph Fratrel.” (See Perrin Stein 2013, “Artists and Amateurs: Etching in 18th-Century France”. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 52) This impression is very likely to be one of the “tissue thin” impressions printed by the artist and later tipped onto pages in von Klein’s published albums. (See Anthony Griffiths & Frances Carey 1994, “German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe”, BM, pp.75-6.)

Etching with drypoint and plate tone on tissue-thin laid paper, trimmed unevenly along the plate mark and lined onto a support sheet.
Size: (sheet trimmed unevenly) 12 x 8.8 cm
Signed on the plate with the artist’s name at right of centre on the lower edge of the print.

Baudicour 1859-1861 II.195.9 (P de Baudicour 1859, “Le Peintre-Graveur Français continue”, 2 vols, Paris); IFF 9 (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Navigation, personified by a draped woman, in profile to the left and leaning on a boat's bow. c.1775/80 Etching,”

The Philadelphia Museum of Art showcases Fratrel’s prints including “Navigation”; see:

Condition: tissue thin, richly inked impression— note that the tissue-thin impressions were arguably printed during Fratrel's lifetime but were tipped onto album pages when published by Anton von Klein (1746–1810) in 1799—trimmed unevenly along the platemark and laid upon a support sheet of conservator’s fine archival/millennium quality washi paper. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds, stains or foxing).

I am selling this small and precious print on the thinnest of papers from the late 1700s for a total cost of AU$234 (currently US$180.53/EUR152.78/GBP136.56 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this arguably unique image of a female personification of the art of nautical navigation, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Like most allegorical figures in art, this female personification of Navigation symbolically looking to the heavens while resting her foot near a ship’s anchor embodies a whole body of traditional symbolism. Note for instance that the figure is shown with her hands wrapped around a ship’s bow to subliminally reference the long tradition extending back to the 16th century—and no doubt earlier in terms of protective eyes and faces designed to ward off danger—of affixing a carved figurehead of a lady on a ship’s prow. Note also that this female personification is dressed in thin material referencing the tradition dating back to antiquity of portraying women in gowns that cling to their bodies especially when wet such as the marble sculpture carved like a figurehead, from the Hellenistic period, “The Winged Victory of Samothrace” (aka “Nike of Samothrace”) now in the Louvre.

Regarding what I see as a theatrically moody rendering of this allegorical figure, Griffiths & Carey (1994) advise in “German Printmaking in the Age of Goethe” that Fratrel’s oeuvre of only 17 prints “enjoyed a high reputation in the eighteenth century, and their unusual combination of etching and drypoint led to comparisons with Rembrandt; one plate was even claimed to be better than Rembrandt” (p. 75)





Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Cornelis Galle I’s engraving, “Catching Night Moths”, c1596


Cornelis Galle I (1576– 1650) (1537–1612)

“Catching Night Moths”, c1596, Plate 25 (the BM’s copy is numbered 84 because I suspect that it is from the later and expanded edition of 104 plates) from the series, “Hunting Parties” (aka “Venationes Ferarum, Avium, Piscium” (transl. “With wild beasts, birds, fish”), after Jan van der Straet (aka Joannes Stradanus; Ioannes Stradanus) (1523–1605), published by Philips Galle (aka Philippe Galle; Philippus Gallaeus) (1537–1612) in Antwerp.

Engraving on laid paper with small margins and lined onto a support sheet of fine washi paper.
Size: (sheet) 21.1 x 27.1 cm; (plate) 20.6 x 26.8 cm; (image borderline) 18.2 x 26.3 cm
Inscribed within the image borderline: (at left following the tree root) “I. Stradan. inv. C. Galle sculp.”;  (right on the large rock in the corner) “Phls Galle excu.”
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “25”; (centre in two columns of two lines of Latin text) “Melliferis infesti ... ardore necantur.”
State: ii (of iii?) before change of the plate number to “84”, as shown in the state iii copy held by the BM (no. 1957,0413.80)

New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 490.III (Johannes Stradanus); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 455.III (Philips Galle); Baroni Vannucci 1997 693.84 (Alessandra Baroni Vannucci 1997, “Jan van der Straet, detto Giovanni Stradano, flandrus pictor et inventor”, Milan, Jandi Sapi Editori)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Catching of Night Moths; moths are lured to three burning lamps by night; men and boys use sticks to draw the insects out from the shrubbery; farm buildings stand to the right, while a church is seen beyond”

Condition: near faultless, museum quality, richly inked impression with small margins in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds, stains or foxing)  laid upon a support sheet of conservator’s fine archival/millennium quality washi paper.

I am selling this exceptionally rare, engraving from the late 1500s for a total cost of AU$244 (currently US$188.17/EUR159.62/GBP141.90 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this spectacular night scene—a rare subject in the Renaissance era—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


Night scenes may seem like they would be easy subjects to create, in the sense that all an artist needs is a strong light and strong shadow and hey presto! … a night scene is created. Of course, to create a finely tuned representation of how light “works” in darkness is much more involved as may be seen here.

One of the key principles is what is termed the Inverse-Square Law. This “law” or perhaps “guide” is that the degree of illumination decreases at the following ratio: the distance that a subject is away from the light source squared (see my formal discussion about this topic at http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2012/03/berchem-inverse-square-law.html). In this print, for example, each of the three moth-catching lights on the ground projects a halo of harsh tonal contrasts on the features closest to them but this degree of contrast decreases gradually into the evening darkness. A feature in this print that really appeals to me is the way that Galle uses the just a hint of light catching on the peripheral leaves in the dark foliage mass at the very top of the composition.

Another important principle is that the surface textures of forms—see for example the hindquarters of the foreground dog—exhibit no surface textures in the strongest light but in the less strongly lit areas reveal surface textures like the hair on a dog.

The final principle that I will mention is the one that is the most effective of all and one which is the hallmark of the truly great masters because it is such a subtle device to employ: reflected light. Note how Galle introduces the suggestion of cast light from the ground illuminating the shadow on the foreground figure’s legs on the right. At first glance a detail like this could be overlooked but it shows the mastery of Galle in showing delicate light that is “bounced” even into the darkest of shadows.