Friday, 31 March 2017

Jacopo Caraglio’s engraving (retouched by Francesco Villamena), “Jupiter”, 1530


Jacopo Caraglio (c.1500–65) and retouched by Francesco Villamena (c.1565–1624)
“Jupiter”, 1526, after Rosso Fiorentino (1494–1540), from the series “Mythological Gods and Goddesses”. TIB (vol. 28) advises that this print is “from the series of second states retouched by Villamena” (p. 123).

Engraving on fine laid paper with watermark trimmed along the platemark/borderline.
Size: 21.1 x 11.1 cm
Lettered below the image borderline 'IVPPTER - AETHEREA - SVMMA - DOMINATOR - IN - ARCE 3.”
State ii (of ii). Note that Villamena added the background of finely engraved lines on the lit side of Jupiter to Caraglio’s engraving of the first state. (See an illustration of the first state in TIB, vol. 28, p. 103.)

Bartsch XV.78.26.3 (Adam Bartsch 1803,”Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna); TIB 28 (17). 26-II (79) (Walter L Strauss Ed. 1985, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 28, p. 123).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print which the BM describes as “after Caraglio”:
“Jupiter holding a thunderbolt in his left hand riding an eagle emerging from a niche; from a series of 20 engravings depicting mythological gods and goddesses. 1526 Engraving”

Condition: well-inked, strong and crisp impression trimmed along the platemark/borderline. The sheet is lightly age-toned and there are remnants of mounting verso.

I am selling this exceptionally rare engraving for the total cost of AU$354 (currently US$270.58/EUR253.11/GBP216.58 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this museum quality print (note that the quality of this impression surpasses that held by the BM), 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


When I was researching this print I found myself being led all over my library trying to piece together its history. For instance, the British Museum simply attributes this print as being “after Caraglio” and I can understand their point as the image seen here is not created entirely by Caraglio (after Florentino). The plate had been retouched by Villamena whose mission in life seems to be to retouch all the old master plates that he could get his hands on so as to “improve” them. I need to be careful in chastising this old master, however, as Caraglio is well known for “improving” the designs of other artists, especially in terms of backgrounds. Indeed, Michael Bury (2001) in “The Print in Italy 1550–1620” gives the following fascinating insight into Caraglio’s propensity to make improvements:

“Caraglio worked from a drawing by Rosso Fiorentino which must either have consisted of the figures alone, or alternatively had a background that Caraglio judged inadequate for his purpose. It may have been quite common for printmakers to decide that the creation of a successful print required significant adjustments to be made to their model, especially with regard to the environment for the figures” (p. 15).

Regarding this print, after weaving my way through volume 28 of “The Illustrated Bartsch” (1978) catalogue raisonné of Caraglio’s prints I counted five variations of it (pp. 103, 123, 143, 162, 173). This may not sound so surprising given that reproductive prints had a ready market in the 16th century, but there is one important element that baffles me as to why Florentino’s original design was not given its proper attribution by Caraglio; namely, Caraglio is one of the first printmakers to introduce the term “invenit” to be inscribed on printing plates to clarify who designed the image. Later a whole raft of terms gave further clarity to distinguish the roles played by the designer of the image (“Delineavit” in the case of a drawing or “Pinx” if a painting), the printmaker who cut the plate (“Fecit”), the publisher (“Excuit”) and the copyright authority (“Cum privilegio”). I just wish that Caraglio had insisted on having clear information inscribed about this print’s production.





Thursday, 30 March 2017

Tempesta’s etchings from the series “Horses of different lands”, 1590


Antonio Tempesta (1555?–1630)
(Clockwise from the upper left) “Plate 13”, “Plate 24”, “Plate 29”, “Plate 16”, 1590, from the series of 28 plates: “Horses of different lands.”
I believe that these impressions are from the c.1630 edition based on information that I received from the print dealer when I originally purchased them.

Etchings on fine laid paper with binding holes on the left (as published) and small margins all lined on conservator’s support sheets.
Size of “Plate 13”: (all of the sheets are irregularly cut and vary slightly in size) 16 x 20.9 cm; (plate) 14.1 x 17.1
All prints are numbered within the image borderline and have two lines of Latin text

Bartsch XVII

The British Museum offers the following information regarding the series, “Horses of different lands”, of which these prints are a part:
“Series of twenty-eight plates depicting horses from different lands; each plate showing one or two horses in a landscape; the series preceded by a frontispiece depicting Minerva in a chariot, driven by Prudence and Charity, and by a dedication sheet. 1590” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1548281&partId=1&searchText=tempesta+Horses+of+different+lands&page=1 )

Condition: well-inked and remarkably crisp impressions with small margins and hand inscribed numbers above the image borderlines. All sheets have minor imperfections (e.g. Plate 13 has a small loss at the top left corner in the margin; Plate 24 has a dot of discolouration close to the inscribed plate number; Plate 29 has a repaired loss towards the upper left corner in the margin; Plate 16 has a flatten fold mark on the left corner and a repaired loss on the upper right corner), but are in good condition for their age.

I am selling this rare set of four etchings by Tempesta for the total cost of AU$720 (i.e. AU$180 each) (currently US$552.28/EUR514.80/GBP442.80 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you wish to purchase only one of these prints I am selling them for AU$208 each (US$159.55/EUR148.72/GBP127.90).
If you are interested in purchasing these seldom seen prints, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Although these prints are all about horses I suspect that they are also all about the artist who crafted them. Note for instance Tempesta’s fascination with horses’ tails, or more specifically, his fascination with the spiralling and almost calligraphic flow of the individual hairs in the tails. At this point I should mention that I have no doubt that Tempesta was correct in rendering the spiralling flow of the tails as travelling in a clockwise direction when flicked but I am sceptical about whether they really do have curly ends like he has depicted—perhaps his love of curly ends on tail hair is less about true attributes of horses tails and more about Tempesta’s inner need to see complexity or to create complexity when it is not there to be seen.

Before I draw too many conclusions about Tempesta’s mindset and interests based on his fascinating treatment of horses’ tails, I wish to draw attention to his treatment of clouds: Tempesta populates his skies with knife-edged clouds with very pointed ends. Although I would be far out of my depth to suggest why an artist would repeatedly choose this cloud formation, I wonder about an artist's mindset when an artist selects lethally dangerous shapes.









Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Jacob Matham’s engraving after Goltzius, "Sloth", 1593


Jacob Matham (15719–1631)
“Sloth” (La Paresse), 1593, after Hendrik Goltzius (aka Hendrick Goltzius) (1558–1617) from the series “The Virtues and the Seven Deadly Sins” / “The Vices”

Engraving on laid paper with margins lined onto a conservator’s support sheet
Size: (sheet) 39.2 x 22.1 cm; (plate) 32.5 x 17 cm
Lettered in lower right corner "HG. Inue." and numbered in lower left corner "7". With two lines in the margin "Excecat .... moratur." by "F.E." (Franco Estius).

New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 156 (Jacob Matham) (F W H Hollstein 1993, The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts 1450–1700, Amsterdam); Hollstein 283 (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450–1700”, Amsterdam); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 498-504 (Hendrick Goltzius; Prints after inventions by Goltzius); Bartsch III.165.138 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna); TIB 4 (3).138 (165) (Walter L Strauss 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 4 [formerly vol. 3 (Part 2)]. p.127)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Sloth; a female figure, whole-length, with a snail on her shoulder, in a niche. 1593 Engraving”

The curator of the BM also gives the following information about the series:
“This is one from a series of seven numbered plates by Jacob Matham (New Hollstein 150-156) after Goltzius …. The set was first published by Goltzius in Haarlem; then by Claes Jansz Visscher in Amsterdam (before 1652); and finally by Jochem Ottens. Seven preparatory drawings by Goltzius are in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, inv.nos.Dr.975.2-8 (Reznicek 89-95). (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1480416&partId=1&searchText=1857,0613.510&page=1)

Condition: crisp, richly inked impression laid upon a conservator’s support sheet. There is a flatten crease in the margin at top right, a small wormhole (on the far right) and slight age toning and minor marks at the lower edge of the sheet otherwise the print is in excellent condition for its age.

I am selling this marvellous impression of a very important print by Matham after Goltzius (Matham’s stepfather) for the total cost of AU$390 (currently US$298.52/EUR276.63/GBP139.89 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this female personification of sloth with a snail on her shoulder in a niche, 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 evening I asked my cook whether the abstract notion of sloth would be explained well if an illustrator were to show a bare-breasted woman set in a niche with a snail crawling down her shoulder. My cook—who knows everything—looked me in the eye and said slowly and with absolute certainty: “…it’s just not nice.” I guess that the audience that Matham was addressing with this engraving way back in the 16th century held very different ideas.

Leaving aside my cook’s insightful and persuasive argument against showing women in ways that are simply “not nice,” I am fascinated by how this image is constructed. For instance, if I start at the top of this personification of laziness I find myself looking at her from a slightly elevated—perhaps even god-like—position as I can see the very top of her head and gaze down her features to her breasts. Once I have lowered my gaze to her chest, my position from which I look at her changes as well. I am now at her thighs looking slightly up at her hands. My position of looking at her again slips further down until I reach the ground and from this position of a worm I look upwards. These changes of viewpoint are amazing and no doubt they also signify meanings about sloth that I am yet to fully digest.

Note also how the figure is arranged so that this epitome of sloth is set away from the viewer in what might be described as the socially removed “public space” of her architectural niche. Counteracting this spatial and social distance, is the very subtle use of the projecting toes of her right foot that extend beyond the niche into the viewer’s “private space.”

In short, the symbolism of this figure with its slowly moving snail has a complex layering of meanings that are worth taking the time to contemplate … but I will leave that task to others with a better understanding of laziness.






Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Jacob Matham’s engraving, "The Holy Family", 1607


Jacob Matham (15719–1631)
“The Holy Family” (aka “Virgin and Child with the little John and Elizabeth”), 1607, after the painting by either Matheus du Boys (fl.1609) proposed by the British Museum or Ambroise Dubois (1543–1614) proposed by the Rijksmuseum, executed and published by Jacob Matham

Engraving on laid paper trimmed to the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 31.2 x 24.1 cm
Inscribed in the plate within the image borderline: (lower left) “M. de Boӱs pinxit.”; (lower right) “Maetham Sculp et excud.”; (on the chair) “Ao. 1607."
Inscribed in the plate below the image borderline, two lines of Latin text in two columns: Felices  ambræ... tuo / Ex te ...tuæ.”

Hollstein 112 (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450–1700”, Amsterdam); Nagler 78; New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 75 (F W H Hollstein 1993, The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts 1450–1700, Amsterdam); Bartsch III.151.78 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna); TIB 4 (3).78 (151) (Walter L Strauss 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 4 [formerly vol. 3 Part 2)]. p.68) (Note: there is an error in TIB as the image shown on p. 68 is the copy in reverse held by the BM and not the original print)
See also the Rijksmuseum's copy of this print: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.collect.150529

The British Museum does not hold this print but they do have a copy in reverse by an anonymous artist and offer the following description:
“The Virgin and Child with St Elisabeth and the infant St John the Baptist; Mary sits on a chair at right and holds out Christ towards John who offers Him a dove Engraving”

Condition: crisp, richly inked impression (most likely a lifetime impression based on the quality), trimmed at the platemark in excellent condition apart from a small closed tear at the lower edge of the sheet and collectors’ annotations.

I am selling this early impression of this exceptionally rare print—The British Museum only holds a copy after this print by an anonymous artist—for the total cost of AU$600 (currently US$455.81/EUR419.70/GBP363.18 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this sublime print of the highest order of quality, 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


If the engraving of this print has overtones of Goltzius this not surprising as Matham was not only a pupil of Goltzius but he was also his stepson after Goltzius married his mother in 1579. Going further, he also managed Goltzius workshop in Haarlem from 1600 onwards and so the Goltzius legacy was well entrenched with his technical virtuosity of laying curved parallel strokes with the Goltzius legacy of leaving dots at their ends and even Goltzius’ famous device of the “dotted Lozenge” (see Christ's right arm and St John's wrist) to assist in rendering the transition of tone from light to dark.

Of special interest to me, is Matham’s treatment of the corner of the window frame shown at the upper right. Note how Matham has employed very subtle transitions of tone so that the lit side of the corner is rendered with a transition to a lighter tone at the edge of the corner whereas the dark side is rendered a touch darker at the same corner. This is just a technical “trick” to match the illusion of what is termed “simultaneous contrast”, but to see an early artist using it is exciting.






Monday, 27 March 2017

Félix Buhot’s etching (with aquatint, drypoint and roulette), "Gardiens du Logis"


Félix Buhot (aka Félix Hilaire Buhot; Tohub) (1847-1898)  
"Gardiens du Logis" (The guardians of the house) aka "Les amis du Saltimbanque" (The friends of the mountebank), 1872–1891, published in “Revue de l'art ancien et modern”, 1902

Etching, aquatint, drypoint, roulette with plate tone on cream wove paper with full margins (as published)
Size: (sheet) 21.9 x 28.8 cm; (plate) 8.6 x 11.3 cm
Signed in the plate with Buhot’s owl monogram
State ii (of ii)

Bourcard 1899 76.III (Gustave Bourcard 1899, “Catalogue descriptif de son [Félix Buhot] oeuvre grave”, Paris, H Floury); Bourcard/Goodfriend 76 (G.Bourcard: cat.desc.de son oeuvre gravé, with additions and revisions by James Goodfriend [New York 1979])

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Two dogs and a donkey outside a caravan; with additional work all over the plate

Condition: crisp, richly inked impression in near pristine condition (there is a dot in the margin).

I am selling this small but beautiful etching by Buhot showcasing a wide variety of printmaking techniques for the total cost of AU$330 (currently US$252.29/EUR232.02/GBP200.24 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this genuine Buhot, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


If one were to compare the prints of Rembrandt and Buhot the outcome may be surprising. My interest in such a comparison is not that one artist is “better” than the other, but rather that the attitude to printmaking had changed from Rembrandt’s time in the 17th century to Buhot’s time in late 19th century. This notion of a change in attitude is all about the envisaged goal for an artwork.

Although I am not privy to know exactly what Rembrandt envisaged when he began a print, what I feel reasonably confident to propose is that he knew what he was looking for when he commenced a print and did his best to ensure that he achieved what he wanted when a plate was “finished.” This proposal may seem a rather trite thing to even mention as Rembrandt’s prints (e.g. “The Three Crosses”) clearly show how he evolved his etching plates through many states making adjustments, both subtle and major, until he achieved what he wanted. This seemingly obvious approach, however, is not necessarily the same for Buhot and many of the other experimental printmakers at the turn of the 19th century.

By comparison with Rembrandt’s approach of adjusting an image until it matched his purpose, Buhot’s approach was more about exploring what the process could deliver and allowing this creative font of ideas free play to “find” an image that satisfied his interests. In short, the “pushing and pulling” involved in creating an image was as much a part Buhot’s artwork as the meanings that may be found in the final artwork.

Of course, at a very fundamental level all artists are guided in their creative engagement when making images by a balance of calculation and intuition. The difference between the old masters, like Rembrandt, and the modern masters, like Buhot, is arguably about what the artists sought to crystallise in their images: a shift from visual communication to documenting experiential thinking.






Sunday, 26 March 2017

Antonius Wierix’s engraving, “Jonah cast on shore by the fish”, 1585


Antonius Wierix (1555/1559–1604)
“Jonah cast on shore by the fish”, 1585, from a series of four plates (by the Wierix family) after Maarten de Vos (1532–1603), published by Gerard de Jode (1516/17–1591) in “Thesaurus Sacrarum Historiarum veteris testamenti, elegantissimis imaginabus expressum excellentissimorum in hac arte virorum opera: nunc primum in lucem editus” (Treasure holy history of the Old Testament elegant imaginabor expressed in this excellent works of art, now for the first time to light). The curator of the BM advises that the related drawings for the four plates are in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (Lugt 1968, 401-402).

Engraving with margins on fine laid paper lined on a conservator’s support sheet
Size: (sheet) 23.3 x 29.3 cm; (plate) 19.3 x 25.3 cm
Lettered beneath image in Latin: 'Euomit absorptum caeco de gutture caetus, Redditur et terre qui modo praeda fuit. Ionas Cap. 2. Anto. Wierinc fecit  3“.

Alvin 1866 112 (L. Alvin 1866, “Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre des trois frères Jan, Jérome et Antoine Wierix”, Brussels);Hollstein 160 (Maarten de Vos); Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1979 40 (Marie Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1978, ”Les Estampes des Wierix ... catalogue raisonné”, 4 vols., Brussels, Bibliotheque Royale Albert Ier);Hollstein 55.I (Wierix)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Jonah cast on shore by the fish; a monstrous fish seen to left vomiting the unharmed Jonah on shore, to right; behind, a rocky landscape with a castle and other buildings” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1655175&partId=1&searchText=wierix+Jonah&page=1)

Condition: crisp and well-printed impression with margins and laid onto a conservator’s support sheet. There is a central crease mark and flattened fold marks at the upper right corner.  There are also small losses and repaired tears in the margins.

I am selling this exceptionally rare engraving by arguably the most famous of the Wierix family of engravers for the total cost of AU$378 (currently US$288.11/EUR266.91/GBP230.96 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this visually riveting 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


For those unfamiliar with the story of Jonah, be advised that the Latin text lettered below the image may be unhelpful and misleading if one copies it into Google Translate: “'Virus has been absorbed dark throat assembly is returned to the earth which are now prey.” I must admit that I thought Jonah was swallowed by a whale rather than a “fish” but after consulting biserica.org I found the relevant text in “Iona” (Jonah) (chapter 2), “Prayer for deliverance of Jonah” with no mention of a whale, again based on Google’s translation:

“1. God has commanded a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 
2. Where the fish's belly Jonah prayed to the Lord his God, saying: 
3. "I Called Lord in my distress, and he heard me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried to him, and he hearkened to my voice! 
4. Thou hast cast into deep within the sea waves surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. 
5. and thought: thrown are before your eyes but you see the holy temple again thine 
6. the waters surrounded me on the whole, the deep surrounded me, sea grass coiled around my head 
7 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains, the earth bars were pulled on me forever, but you took my life from corruption, O Lord my God! 
8. When I finally my spirit to the Lord I remembered, and my prayer came to thee, in thy holy temple! 
9 Those who serve worthless idols despise Your grace; 
10. But I I will bring thee offerings voice of praise and all my promises will fulfil them, for salvation is of the Lord!
11. And the Lord commanded the fish and the fish threw up Jonah ashore!"





Saturday, 25 March 2017

Nicolaes Berchem’s etching, “The Resting Herd”, c.1652


Nicolaes Berchem (aka Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem; Niclas Berghem; Claes Berighem; Nicolaes Pietersz Berrighem) (1621/22–1683)
“The Resting Herd” (Le troupeau en repos), c.1652, from a series of five related plates featuring animals

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed at the platemark and lined on a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 26.5 x 21.2 cm
Signed in top right corner: "Berghem fe."
Numbered in the lower right corner: "3" (signifying the third plate in the series of five.)
State iii (of iii [?])

Hollstein 10.III (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam); Weigel 1843 297.10 (Rudolph Weigel 1843, “Suppléments au Peintre-Graveur de Adam Bartsch, Vol.I”, Leipzig); Dutuit 1881-5 I.36.10 (Manuel E Dutuit, “de l'Amateur d'Estampes”, 4 vols, Paris); Bartsch V.260.10 (Adam Bartsch 1803, ”Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna); TIB 7(5).10 (260) (Walter L Strauss 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Nretherlandish Artists”, vol. 5. p.55)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 3: The Resting Herd. A herd of different animals (one cow, a horse, a donkey, three goats and three sheep) resting, a shepherd leaning on a stick to the left, trees and a wide landscape in the background; from a series of five prints showing animals Etching” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1662222&partId=1&searchText=Berchem+&page=7)

Condition: crisp impression trimmed to the platemark and laid onto a conservator’s support sheet. The sheet is in excellent condition but I can see a few dot-size holes that are virtually invisible because the sheet is laid onto washi paper.

I am selling what is arguably Berchem’s masterpiece of etching—or at least one of his masterworks—for the total cost of AU$214 (currently US$162.97/EUR150.85/GBP130.45 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this truly magnificent print that lends an impression of grand scale to what is essentially a simple scene of rural life in the 17th century, 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


To my eyes, Berchem’s prints embody a spirit of grandeur even when the subject is a simple rural scene like this one. In part, this grandeur—a notion which I will hesitantly define as a sense of bigness, in terms of scale, and objective formality—is related to the way in which Berchem composes his images. Essentially, Berchem’s compositions are designed to create the illusion of voluminous space where the portrayed subjects—in this scene: a mule, a horse, a cow, sheep, goats and a herdsman—have abundant room to move. 

The notion of grandeur also stems from the almost generic/classical way that Berchem represents his featured subjects. For instance, when he represents a mule, he ensures that the point of focus is on the mule’s large ears, or when he wishes to represent a horse he ensures that the focus is on its head and its mane. Following in this same selective process of focusing on key attributes, when Bechem rendered the cow in this remarkable scene of animal abundance, the focus is on its eyes—I personally love cow’s eyes so this choice of attribute makes complete sense to me. In short, Berchem portrays his subject matter with the aim of showcasing broad ideals about the forms represented so that trees and their foliage may not be about a particular tree but the essence of trees—the “treeness” of trees (to borrow a dollop of Platonism).