Saturday, 25 November 2017

Léon Subercaze’s etching, “Young boy seated at a dinner table”, c1849


Léon Subercaze (fl.1845–1849)
“Young boy seated at a dinner table” (descriptive title only), c1849

Etching on fine buff coloured Japan paper (presumably it may once have been a chine- collé sheet), trimmed with margins around the image borderline, but before the platemark and lined onto a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 11.7 x 10 cm; (image borderline) 11 x 9.3 cm
Inscribed on the plate below the image borderline at left: “L. Subercaze”

The British Museum holds the following collection of etchings by Subercaze:  http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=L%C3%A9on+Subercaze+

Condition: faultless impression in pristine condition laid upon a support sheet of washi paper.

I am selling this superb impression in museum-quality condition by one of the “forgotten” 19th century printmakers whose work is yet to be acclaimed for its quality (see my discussion) for AU$110 (currently US$83.88/EUR70.27/GBP62.89 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this simple but marvellously strong composition, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Subercaze is one of the invisible printmakers of the 19th century whose significance will someday shake the history books—but only a little shake. The reason is simple: HE was the etcher responsible (but unacknowledged) for executing some of major reproductive plates of old master prints bearing the name of one of the most famous printmakers of the Barbizon School: Charles Jacque.

First glance at this print shows clearly that Subercaze was a sublime etcher. He is able to illuminate even the darkest of shadows—note how Subercaze illuminates the young boy’s forehead and uses the “bounced” light from this region to add reflected light into the deep shadows of the cap that the boy wears. Moreover, Subercaze could express even what a child is thinking—note the boy’s tiny hand finding comfort in his crossed arms and the placement of the spoon on the plate at just the “right” angle parallel to his arms on the table to declare, without words, that he is ”over” eating. Despite such clear indicators of a sensitive and insightful artist, biographical information about him is limited to a few years that he was an active printmaker. So strange! So sad!





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