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Wednesday 20 December 2017

Charles-François Daubigny’s etching, “Le Cochon dans un Verger”, 1860

Charles-François Daubigny (aka Charles Daubigny) (1817–1878)

“Le Cochon dans un Verger” (The Pig in an Orchard), 1860

Etching and drypoint on chine collé on laid paper with full margins and blind-stamped by La Chalcographie du Louvre. Note: Melot (1981) advises that the Chalcographie edition shows the title as “Le Porc” and so this impression must be before the authorization of the Chalcographie’s edition.
Size: (sheet) 16.6 x 22.6 cm; (plate) 12.7 x 17.9 cm; (image borderline) 10.2 x 13.3 cm
Inscribed on the plate below the image borderline: (left) “Daubigny”; (centre) "un Cochon de propriètaire qui ne fera de bien qu' après sa mort" 
Melot D 96 (Michel Melot 1981, "Graphic Art of the Pre-Impressionists”, Harry N. Abrams, New York, p. 281); Delteil 96.III (Loys Delteil 1902, “Le Peintre-Graveur Illustré (XIXe et XXe siècles)”, 31 vols, Paris)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

Condition: richly-inked and well-printed impression with generous margins in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this freely drawn etching (with drypoint) for the total cost of AU$196 (currently US$150.5/EUR127.02/GBP112.33 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this exemplary etching of Daubigny's commitment to direct observation of nature, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

There is a strange mix of meanings projected by this print. On one hand the line of cursive text etched below the image—"un Cochon de propriètaire qui ne fera de bien qu' après sa mort"—which I understand were the words of Daubigny’s friend, the sculptor Jean-Louis Chenillion, who was watching Daubigny at work drawing the pig, raises more questions than are answered by the composition.

Google translates this text into the following bitter statement in English: “a Pig owner who will do good only after his death." This slightly unsettling and very obscure translation is moulded by Michel Melot’s (1981) in "Graphic Art of the Pre-Impressionists” to mean: “a pig of a landlord of no use except dead” (p. 280). For me, however, I am left still wondering about the significance of the portrayed pig and its relationship to its owner. Perhaps more intriguing is the relationship between the pig, its owner and their connection to Daubigny that drove him to inscribe these grim words uttered by his friend.

Beyond the curious play of meanings projected by the inscription, the treatment of the portrayed subject is equally curious. For me, Daubigny has intentionally camouflaged the portrayed landscape features in the scene with loosely laid lines so that the whole composition seems literally woven together. For me, this visual blending of sky, trees, grasses and ground with the pig and distant sheds expresses a vision of landscape that is more about the complexity of intuitive sensory responses than a “straight forward” mimetic description of what he observed.

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