Monday, 8 January 2018

Jean-Jacques Avril’s engraving, “Spring Bouquet with Ranunculus and Tulip” (after Louis Tessier), c1775


Jean-Jacques Avril (l'Aine) (1744–1831)

“Spring Bouquet with Ranunculus and Tulip” (descriptive title only), c1775, after the design by Louis Tessier (c1719–1781), published in "Livre de Corbeilles et Vases de Fleurs".

Engraving on cream laid paper with (partial) watermark.
Size: (sheet) 37 x 27.6 cm; (plate) 32.4 x 24.5 cm; (image borderline) 30 x 23.5 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “L. Tessier del.”; (right) “Avril l'aine Sculp."
State i (of ii) before the addition of the number after the inscription, “Avril l'aine Sculp."

Condition: marvellously crisp and well-inked impression with margins (as published?) in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, significant stains—but there is a light mark in one of the leaves—abrasions or foxing).

I am selling this rare and graphically strong uncoloured engraving (see a coloured version at The Annex Galleries: http://www.annexgalleries.com/inventory/detail/9531/Louis-Tessier/Spring-Bouquet-with-Ranunculus-and-Tulip-engraved-by-Jean-Joseph-Avril-laine-for-Livre-de-) for a total cost of AU$177 (currently US$138.70/EUR115.57/GBP102.45 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this classical inspired composition that has its origins in Tessier’s tapestry designs for the Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins factory in Paris, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Although the design for this engraved flower-piece was undoubtedly conceived for a tapestry—after all the designer, Louis Tessier, worked for the Gobelins tapestry manufactory (Paris)—and as such it is graphically strong, I wish to point out a few details that may go unnoticed in a casual glance.

Note for example the very intentional “free” groupings of hatched strokes interspersed in the otherwise mechanically drawn shading lines portraying the bench on which the vase of flowers rests. I stress that these lines are “intentional” because they give a touch of earthy-grit to the rest of the clinically precise shading strokes. They are added to the benchtop surface to suggest blemishes referencing the longstanding tradition in still life arrangements, especially in the 17th century, of showcasing the theme of vanitas (i.e. the inevitability of change).

What I find especially interesting about the composition is the featured corner of the benchtop at the lower-left of the image. This corner subliminally gives the viewer the feeling of having partial access into the pictorial space of the composition. Imagine how psychologically distancing this composition would be without this small “gateway” that conceptually offers the viewer the notional opportunity to move around the flower arrangement.








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