Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Cornelis Visscher’s engraving, “Mother with a Child on a Donkey”, 1657/8, after Nicolaes Berchem


Cornelis Visscher (II) (aka Cornelis Vischer) (1628/9–1658)

“Mother with a Child on a Donkey”, 1657–58, after a drawing by Nicolaes Berchem (aka Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem; Nicolaes Berchen; Niclas Berghem; Nicolaes Pietersz. Berrighem; Claes Berighem) (1621/22–83), plate 4 from the series of four plates, “Landscapes after Nicolaes Berchem” (Hollstein 68–71).

Engraving with etching on laid paper trimmed along the image borderline and re-margined on a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 45.1 x 35.5 cm; (sheet) 26.8 x 20.9 cm
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (upper right) "CBerghem Delinea. / C. Visscher f."
Numbered on plate below the image borderline: (in an extremely small numeral at right) “4”
State ii (of ii)

Hollstein Dutch 71-2 (2) (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450–1700”, Amsterdam).
See also Pieter Biesboer (ed.) 2006, “Nicolaes Berchem: In the Light of Italy“, (exh. cat.) Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, P.90, pp. 128–9 and pp. 156-7, cat.no. P90

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“A mother and her swaddled child on a donkey with a peasant standing next to them and a dog leaping up; in left foreground a cow and horse rest and beyond a horse urinates; after Berchem” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3120626&partId=1&people=104055&peoA=104055-2-60&page=1)
See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.191180

Condition: crisp impression trimmed along the image borderline and re-margined on a support sheet. The sheet is in a good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds or foxing), but there are several spots of restorations (virtually invisible), a few pale stains around the edges and general mellow toning appropriate for the age of the print.

I am selling this simply magnificent and relatively large engraving for AU$310 (currently US$251.46/EUR201.87/GBP177.57 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in acquiring this often reproduced/famous print that is full of action from everyday rural life in the Dutch Golden Age—note the peeing horse on the left; the bull and horse discussing the weather in the foreground; the passing herd of sheep; the dog craving attention from the barefoot chap who is clearly in need of proper orthotic arch support for his feet—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


Understandably, Nicolaes Berchem’s designs were very popular with 17th century reproductive printmakers as his images arguably captured the “true” spirit of rural life. After all, I suspect that even today viewers might be surprised and perhaps shocked to see a horse fully engrossed in its act of urinating as shown here.

Although Berchem’s vision of rural life in the Netherlands was widely copied, not many of the graphic translations were as fine as this print. Note for instance the way that Visscher uses VERY closely aligned strokes in his rendering of the sky to suggest a grey wash of watercolour. This is an amazing work of a supreme craftsman. Indeed, even at the time that Visscher executed this masterwork, his prints sold for approximately twice the price of his noteworthy peers like Dancker Danckets (1634–1666) (see Pieter Biesboer (ed.) 2006, “Nicolaes Berchem: In the Light of Italy“, (exh. cat.) Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, p. 130).







Tuesday, 30 January 2018

“Two Farmers by the Hearth”, 1625–90, designed and published by David Teniers the Younger


(after) David Teniers the Younger (aka David Teniers II; Tennier) (1610–1690)

“Two Farmers by the Hearth” (Rijksmuseum title), 1626–90, from the four-plate series, “Farmers” (aka “Peasants”), designed and published by David Teniers the Younger with privilege (as inscribed on the plate).

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed along the platemark and re-margined on a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 25.6 x 21.5 cm; (sheet) 7.1 x 6.1 cm; (image borderline) 6.3 x 5.8 cm
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline at lower centre “DT, in. et excud. cum priuileg.”
State ii (of ii) (with the additional cross-hatching on the fireplace) See the two different states at the Rijksmuseum: (state i) http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.184926 ; (state ii) http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.184927 

Hollstein Dutch 21-2 (2) (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450–1700”, Amsterdam); Wurzbach 1906-11 II.697.3 (Alfred von Wurzbach 1906, “Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon”, 3 vols, Vienna-Leipzig, Verlag von Halm und Goldmann); Dutuit 1881-5 VI.421.3 (E Dutuit 1805, “Manuel de l'Amateur d'Estampes”, 4 vols, Paris)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Two men in front of a fire-place to the left, the left one standing and smoking, the right man seated and smoking; from a series of four prints showing peasants after David Teniers the Younger” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1670195&partId=1&searchText=Two+peasants&people=105658&page=1)

Condition: slightly silvery impression trimmed along the platemark and re-margined on a support sheet. The sheet is in a very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, but there is the faintest trace of residue colouring from once being glued at the corners).

I am selling this early, rare and historically important etching showing Flemish peasant life in 17th century for AU$290 (currently US$233.83/EUR188.89/GBP166.79 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in acquiring this early etching that helped frame Teniers’ reputation in the development of the genre of tavern and other genre scenes, 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


Once one starts looking at Dutch and Flemish tavern scenes from the 17th century for which David Teniers is famous, a whole new world of social commentary opens revealing how peasants at the time lived. It’s a fascinating field of images to become involved with … but I have a warning: one has to like squat chaps with very square jaws!

This print is a good start for examining the lives of the rural poor but happy folk. For example note the extra-long feather on the hat of the seated chap lighting his pipe. My understanding of what this feather means—or could mean—is that the seated man is a bit of a rakish lad as such a very long feather fits with a certain class of man with a devil-may-care attitude. In fact such a feather is the hallmark of the comic stage character of the time, Peechelhaering, that Gerdien Wuestman (2017) in “Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age” (exh. cat. AGNSW) advises was “known for his lack of moderation” (p. 126). I wonder if the shortfall of fingers on his left hand (he only has three) is an outcome of his leaning to take risks?

Even looking at the fireplace is interesting. This one is so high that that there is no handy-to-reach mantelpiece above the fireplace to place odds and sods. Perhaps the height of this fireplace means that the scene is set in a kitchen as I recall that kitchen hearths are usually high to accommodate the cook’s pots and pans. As for the impressively dense cloud of smoke in the fireplace, clearly this pair of men have not been attentive to proper chimney maintenance or the fuel that they are using needs a bit more flame.





Monday, 29 January 2018

Augustin Hirschvogel’s etching, “Baptism of Christ”, 1547


Augustin Hirschvogel (1503–1553)

“Baptism of Christ”, 1547, illustration to Péter Perényi de Nagyida’s and Augustin Hirschvogel’s, “Vorredt und eingang der Concordantzen alt und news Testaments, Durch Pereny Petri... Und nachuolgents durch Augustin Hirßfogel... erweytert” (56 pages with 104 etchings), published in 1550 by Aegidius Adler in Vienna.

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed along the image borderline and re-margined on a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 29.9 x 30.3 cm; (sheet trimmed unevenly) 11.7 x 14.6 cm
Dated on plate at lower right of centre: “1547”

Hollstein 134b (F W H Hollstein 1954, “German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c.1400–1700”, Amsterdam); Paisey 2002 306 (David Paisey 2002, “Catalogue of German printed books to 1900”, London, BMP.”)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Baptism of Christ (dated 1547) Christ in middle, with holy spirit and God above, St. John the Baptist at right, assistant at far right” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3799564&partId=1&searchText=Hirschvogel+baptism+&page=1)

Condition: a crisp and richly inked impression (no doubt a lifetime impression based on the quality of the printed lines), trimmed to the image borderline and re-margined. The sheet is in a poor condition with holes, losses to the left and lower edges and a central break. Despite these significant issues, the condition of the print highlights its considerable age.

I am selling this very early and extremely rare etching for AU$310 (currently US$250.81/EUR202.40/GBP178.32 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in acquiring this Renaissance period print executed in Michelangelo’s lifetime and by the artist who arguably popularised the great Albrecht Altdorfer’s approach to landscape, 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


Before I discuss this image I must admit that, as an agnostic, I am not the most equipped person to speak of an illustration such as this pivotal moment in the life of Christ: his baptism by St John. Nevertheless, there is a layering of meanings captured in this etching that go beyond the action of the scene depicted and this is to do with the representation of the Holy Trinity (i.e. Christ portrayed in the stream, God the Father shown in the clouds and the Holy Spirit—the dove—in a nimbus of concentric rings) that I enjoy contemplating.

Let me begin …

Christ’s role in the Trinity is as the earth-bound incarnate manifestation of the Lord (forgive me if I haven’t understood the full subtlety of Christ’s role correctly). In this role Hirschvogel has portrayed Christ’s baptism as a temporal event by showing small details of everyday reality such as the dishevelled hair of St John—I love the lock of hair escaping the top of his head—and the unmanicured/natural surrounding landscape with the dead tree on the left that would have made Albrecht Altdoffer very proud.

Regarding Hirschvogel’s portrayal of God the Father whose role in the Trinity is as the supreme spiritual sovereign who supervises and dispenses justice (again my apologies if this explanation is unsatisfactorily simplistic or wrong), here Hirschvogel’s representation of the Lord is very meaningful. From my reading, Hirschvogel is pictorially suggesting that the Lord is in a position that allows him to survey “everything” from the heavens above. Interestingly, Hirschvogel also shows the Lord as symbolically gesturing his spiritual command while not exactly looking at the baptism below.

The third and perhaps the most complex element in the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is also the most complex in its projected symbolism. The Holy Spirit, whose role is as a pervasive actively engaged spiritual presence (I really don’t know if this is correct but I ran short of explanatory terms that made sense to me) is represented in the usual symbolic form of a dove, but in this case I see the concentric bands of radiating lines as projecting more than a numinous light. In fact, my reading is that the bands connote a compelling outward force that may be experienced physically like the sharp points in the outer bands. Again, from my reading, I find the duality of the softness of a dove and the dagger-like sharp points as a fascinating and meaningful way of representing a spiritual aura of presence.







Sunday, 28 January 2018

Charles Louis D'Henriet’s soft-ground etching, “The Barque of Dante”, 1865, after Eugène Delacroix


Charles Louis D'Henriet (1828–?)
“The Barque of Dante”, 1865, after Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863), printed by Auguste Delâtre (1822–1907) and published in “L’Artiste”.

Soft-ground etching printed in brown ink, trimmed at the platemark with thread margins and re-margined with a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 40.4 x 43.4 cm; (sheet) 22.3 x 28.5 cm; (image borderline) 21.5 x 28.1 cm
Scratch-inscribed on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Publié par L’Artiste.”; (centre) “T [?] D’Henriet d’après E. Delacroix.”; (right) "Paris. Imp. e par Aug. Delâtre, Rue St. Jacque 171.”

The Library of Congress offers the following description of this print:
“Print shows Dante and Virgil being ferried across the River Styx by Phlegyas as tormented souls assail the boat from the wind tossed sea.” (https://www.loc.gov/item/2015647082/)

Condition: a richly inked impression trimmed to the platemark and re-margined. The sheet is in near perfect condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing), but I can see an interesting hair mark left during the inking of the plate above the figures of Dante and Virgil.

I am selling this richly etched translation of Delacroix’s famous painting for AU$115 (currently US$93.39/EUR75.13/GBP65.97 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in acquiring this darkly glowing soft-ground etching, 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


I’m guessing that most folk would already be familiar with the famous painting by Delacroix on which D’Henriet’s dark and moody etching is a translation. In some ways the portrayed turmoil mirrors the conflict with the boundaries pushed by Delacroix in his step away from the prevailing Neo-Classical interests at the time to Romanticism. There is, however, an even more interesting aspect to the painting that D’Henriet has taken a good deal of trouble to capture in this print: the water droplets running down the stomach of the chap with a tormented soul shown in a patch bright light in the foreground. These water droplets are perhaps the most significant water droplets in the nineteenth century as they marked the change from soft modelling to create the illusion of reality to the use of dabs of pure colour of the Impressionists so that a single stroke of white denotes the highlight on a droplet while the colours in shadows are signified respectively with green for the mid-tone, yellow for the reflected light on the internal back of the droplet and a dash of red for the cast shadow.









Saturday, 27 January 2018

Agostino Carracci’s and/or Luca Ciamberlano’s engraving, “Resurrecting Figure”, 1597–1629


Agostino Carracci (1557–1602) and/or Luca Ciamberlano (fl.1599–1641)

“Resurrecting Figure” (aka “Man’s Torso Seen from the Back, Leaning on His Two Arms” [TIB title]), 1597–1629, after a detail (in reverse) from Michelangelo’s (aka Michelangelo Buonarroti) (1475–1564), “Last Judgement” (Sistine Chapel, Vatican), and published by Pietro Stefanoni (c1557–1642) in Rome.

Note: The British Museum holds Michelangelo’s chalk study (1540) for the same figure and the BM curator's discussion about the study is interesting; see BM no. 1886,0513.5: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=716082&partId=1&searchText=1886,0513.5+(Wilde+63)&page=1

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed on/within the plate mark and re-margined with a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 34.3 x 27.3 cm; (sheet trimmed unevenly) 15.7 x 10.1 cm

TIB 30 (18). 70 (167) (Diane DeGrazia Bohlin (ed.) 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Masters of the Sixteen Century”, vol. 39, p. 363); Bartsch XVIII.167.70 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur, vol. XVIII, Vienna)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“A naked man leaning on his arms seen from behind, a resurrecting figure from Michelangelo's 'Last Judgement’”

Condition: crisp impression trimmed within the platemark with the publisher’s initials removed and re-margined on a support sheet. The sheet is mottled in colour and the edges of the print have been restored to make the uneven trimming of the sheet less distracting, otherwise, there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or foxing.

I am selling this finely executed engraving from the Renaissance era—interestingly it was executed around sixty years after Michelangelo completed his fresco from which this study is a detail—for AU$170 (currently US$138.05/EUR111.06/GBP97.53 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in acquiring this early and very rare study, 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


Diane DeGrazia Bohlin (1980) in the TIB catalogue raisonné lists this print as executed by Agostino Carracci after Michelangelo whereas the British Museum proposes that Carracci may have been the intermediary draughtsman with Luca Ciamberlano (aka Lucas de Urbino) (fl.1599–­1641) as the true engraver. If this were an engraving by Ciamberlano then this would help to narrow the attribution of its dates of execution from what is currently 1597 to 1629 (proposed by the British Museum) to 1597 to 1614. The reason for this narrowing of dates is simply because this print was published by Pietro Stefanoni (c1557–1642) and after 1614 Ciamberlano published his own prints and so it is very likely to have been executed prior to 1614 (Ciamberlano’s dates as an active published are discussed in M Bury’s (2001), “The Print in Italy 1550–1625”, British Museum, London, p. 224).

From a personal standpoint I would not be surprised if the engraving were by Ciamberlano as the treatment of the locks of hair and the way that the musculature is revealed seems (to my eyes) to match very closely the stylistic attributes seen in the Ciamberlano engravings that I have posted earlier (http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2017/04/luca-ciamberlanos-engravings-after.html). Moreover, if one compares Agostino Carracci approach to rendering forms (see, for example my post about Agostino Carracci’s engraving, “The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine”: http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2017/02/agostino-carraccis-engraving-mystic.html) I do not see the same subtlety of understanding regarding underlying muscles and use of silhouette edges.

I fully appreciate that I may be alone in my views … 









Friday, 26 January 2018

Imao Keinen’s woodblock diptych, “Manazuru (Hooded Cranes)”, 1891


Imao Keinen (今尾景年) (1845–1924)

Oban diptych, “Manazuru (Hooded Cranes)”, 1891, plate 22, from the “Summer Album” in the series, “Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons” (Keinen Kacho Gafu), woodblock prints cut by Tanaka Hirokichi, printed by Miki Jinzaburo, published by Nishimura Soemon.
Colour woodblock prints (two panels), trimmed, abutted and laid upon a support sheet as a single composition and signed on the left margin with the names of the artist and publisher.
Size: (assembly glued on support sheet) 31.5 x 46 cm; (diptych of woodcut sheets) 31.5 x 46 cm

See all the prints featured in the four volumes of “Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons” at the Yamada Bookstore (山田書店美術部オンラインストア): http://www.yamada-shoten.com/onlinestore/detail.php?item_id=41944
See another copy of this pair of prints with variations in the colours at Panteek Antique Prints: https://www.panteek.com/Keinen/pages/ken22-161.htm

Condition: superb impressions trimmed to the image borderline at the side and bottom and slightly within the borderline at the top and affixed with archival Japanese starch glue onto a support sheet of millennium quality washi paper.

I am selling this pair of original woodblock diptychs for AU$200 (currently US$161.63/EUR130.01/GBP113.49 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in purchasing these large, very beautiful and genuine prints by one of the great masters of Japanese printmaking, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


The series in which this diptych features, “Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons”, was a substantial nineteenth-century undertaking considering the large size of these prints. Indeed the series, from my understanding, has 160 of these large prints in total with each of the four seasons celebrated with 40 prints showing the flowers and birds of the season. This particular pair of prints comes from the album focused on summer.

I was thinking about what prompted the artist to craft this image to stand as an exemplary scene about summer—mindful that these graceful cranes also feature in a pair of prints about spring (see http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2017/02/imao-keinens-woodcuts-from-spring-album.html )—and I have decided (with full acceptance that I may be wrong) that the attributes of summer may be about the expression of open space and heat.

Regarding the notion of “open space”, this feeling of airy openness is captured in part by the spatial gaps separating where each crane stands in the water and by the high viewpoint that also helps to draw attention to the space around the birds. To see what I mean, compare the arrangement of the cranes portrayed here with the tight clump of birds shown in the spring album.

Regarding the idea that this composition expresses a feeling of warmth, I must admit that I struggle to establish with great certainty which critical elements project the feeling. Certainly colour should play a role. To be frank, however, the patch of warm colour (viz. the orange on the heads of the cranes) may be stretching the truth. I will instead, propose that the small dots on the sand bank and the general spiky character of the foliage may be the visual prompts. Regardless, of what I should be proposing, at an intuitive level I really do sense a feeling of warmth and so closer inspection and more contemplation is necessary to find the “real” visual cues.







Thursday, 25 January 2018

Cornelis Bos’ engraving, “Ornamental panel of grotesques in the style of the Vatican Loggie”, 1548


Cornelis Bos (aka Cornelis Bosch; Cornelis Bus) (c1515–1556) or by an unidentified artist after Bos

“Ornamental panel of grotesques in the style of the Vatican Loggie” (descriptive title only), 1548, from the series of 6 plates, “Frisians with grotesques, scrolls, fantasy animals, animals and scrolls”
Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed unevenly within the platemark and re-margined with a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 21.7 x 23.9 cm; (sheet trimmed unevenly) 4.2 x 7.8 cm
Inscribed on plate: (upper left) “1548”; (upper right) “C B”

Ref: Irene Margaretha de Groot 1988, “Ornamentprenten in het Rijksprentenkabinet”, Amsterdam.
See the description of this print at the Riksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.445306.

Condition: crisp impression without significant wear but trimmed within the platemark and re-margined on a support sheet. The sheet is in good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing) with minor signs of use.

I am selling this VERY small engraving from the Renaissance era—interestingly it was executed at the very time that Michelangelo had just commenced working on his sculpture, “The Deposition” (aka “Bandini Pietà” or “The Lamentation over the Dead Christ”)—for AU$189 (currently US$152.71/EUR123.04/GBP107.11 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in acquiring this exceptional rare and early engraving, 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


Mindful that Bos was expelled from Antwerp for heresy only four years before he executed this tiny ornamental panel, just looking at the whimsical grotesques involved in the design gives a good idea that he liked to push boundaries. For example, note the close—but not inoffensively close—arrangement of vines bound together by the hole in the portrayed strapwork near the crotch of the naked female at the centre of the composition. I must say at this point, however, that Bos’ designs are far less sexually explicit than similar panels of grotesques by artists like Heinrich Aldegrever executed around the same time; see for example http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.322645.

What makes Bos’ ornamental panels different and delicately elegant by comparison with the densely worked compositions of his contemporaries is the suggestion of airy three-dimensional space. What I mean by this comment is that Bos chooses to leave the backgrounds of his designs blank (as opposed to the darkly cross-hatched backgrounds of Aldegrever) and to ”weave” various pictorial elements, like the vines, so that they flow in three-dimensions. One feature of the weaving that I find particularly intriguing is the tail of the bird on the left. This tail creates a marvellous optical illusion as it is shown in front of the scrolled strap and yet the bird is perched behind the strap.