Friday, 5 January 2018

Gérard de Lairesse’s etching, “Ver” (Spring), 1675


Gérard de Lairesse (1640–1711)

“Ver” (Spring), 1675, from the series “The Four Seasons”, published by Gérard de Lairesse (as inscribed on plate). Although this impression is from the first edition by the artist, the print was also published by Nicolaes Visscher II (1649–1702) and by Gerard Valck (1651/1652–1726) in “Opus Elegantissimum”.

Etching on laid paper with small margins lined with an archival support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 23.9 x 31.5 cm; (plate) 22.5 x 30.5 cm; (image borderline) 20.8 x 30.1 cm
Inscribed below the image borderline: (left) "Gerardus Lairesses pinxit"; (centre) “Ver”; (right) L Sculpcit & Excudit”
Lifetime impression; state ii (of vi) My attribution of this impression to the second state is based on the erasing of Lairesse’s publication details and the addition of the (state iii) lettering, “Per Gerardum de Lairesse inv. et sculp. et per Nicolaum Visscher edit. cum Privil. Ord. Gene. Belgii Foederati" (see the BM impression no. 1929,1112.2.36), before the addition of the (state iv) lettering, "nunc apud G.Valk". Timmers (1942) advises that there are six states.

Timmers 1942 80 II (VI) (J M Timmers 1942, “Gérard Lairesse”, Amsterdam); Roy 83 I (II); Hollstein 80; LeBlanc 286; Huber-Rost 19

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“An allegorical figure of Spring seated on clouds being presented with baskets of flowers by three attendants.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3342721&partId=1&searchText=LAIRESSE+Ver+&page=1) see also the description of the print at the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.134909

Condition: crisp lifetime impression with small margins and laid upon an archival support sheet. There are restorations in the upper and lower margins and small dots within the image. The sheet shows signs of use (i.e. there are minor marks—see small mark in the sky above the centre figure—and mellow toning).

I am selling this lifetime impression executed by the major 17th century academic artist known as the “Dutch Poussin” (see the BM biographical notes for this artist) for the total cost of AU$251 (currently US$197.65/EUR164.37/GBP145.68 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this light filled etching after one of Gérard de Lairesse’s own paintings (as inscribed on the plate), 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


Catchphrase titles for artists are often interesting in a forgettable, superficial way. In the case of popular nicknames bestowed on Gérard de Lairesse, such as “The Dutch Poussin” or “The Dutch Raphael”, the names hint at deeply rooted issues that made the titles potent and significant. Certainly, Gérard de Lairesse’s style and choice of allegorical subjects connect him to these artistic luminaries but there is something even contentious about his linkage to the classical tradition: an undercurrent of conflict in Netherlandish art that he was perceived to be a leading figure. In short, Gérard de Lairesse was seen as the apotheosis of art based on a grand academic vision of perfect beauty against which artists like Rembrandt with their celebration of the everyday, and sometimes the ugly, side of life were at odds.

Interestingly, Rembrandt may not have experienced feeling of animosity towards Gérard de Lairesse, even after receiving such disparaging comments from his rival that his paintings “merely achieved an effect of rottenness … like liquid mud on the canvas." (see http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/16th-june-1894/23/rembra_ndt-when-the-magnificent-dream-of-painting-). After all, Rembrandt even chose to paint Gérard de Lairesse’s portrait—albeit when the great classicist was blind and whose face had become deformed from congenital syphilis.







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