Saturday, 13 January 2018

Adolphe Appian’s etching, “Wharf with Sail Boats on the River, Environs de Lyon”, 1879

Adolphe Appian (1818–1898)

“Wharf with Sail Boats on the River, Environs de Lyon” (aka “Environs de Lyon [Petite planche]”), 1879.

Note: Appian did two versions of this scene. The other print—“Environs de Lyon (Grande planche)—is larger and is a virtual mirror image of this composition; see the Yale University Collection:

Etching on fine wove paper (Japan) (Note: there are subtle differences between the Oriental papers of the 19th century and earlier. Chinese paper tends to have the imprint of the bamboo screen of its manufacture whereas the Japanese papers at this time did not. At a more fundamental level, however, the Chinese papers were generally thinner than Japanese papers. As this impression is on paper that is smooth, comparatively thick and does not exhibit an imprint of its manufacture I have described it as Japanese.)
Size: (sheet) 14.4 x 19.1 cm; (plate) 11.4 x 15.5 cm; (image borderline) 9.1 x 13.7 cm
Signed on the plate at upper left corner: “APPIAN”
Lifetime impression of the first and only state.

Curtis & Prouté 57i (Atherton Cutiis & Paul Prouté 1968, “Adolphe Appian son Oeuvre Gravé et Lithographié”, Paul Prouté, London).
See also the description of this print at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco:

Condition: a richly inked and faultless museum-quality impression in pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling). Note that this is a VERY small print.

I am selling this small and what I see as a very poetically moody print, typifying the best works of this famous artist closely connected to the Barbizon School, for the combined total cost of AU$179 (currently US$141.89/EUR116.25/GBP103.36 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested this bold and romantically beautiful etching, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Appian was active as a printmaker at the height of the shift from the highly disciplined and formulaic line-work characterising the rendering style of engraving in the first half of the 19th century to the loosely laid lines characterising the renewed interest in the etchings of Rembrandt in the latter half of the century.

In this print, for instance, the rendering of the harbour scene is far from an objective view. This is a mindscape of angst and melancholy that just happens to feature a harbour scene. What I mean by this description is that Appian’s strokes with the etching needle are all about capturing an impression of what he observed looking at the sailing boats. Indeed, this impression is not only about fleeting observations as the bundling of the lines and the rhythms that they create in the composition embody the intense feelings that he seems to have experienced.