Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Jean-Ferdinand Chaigneau’s etching, “Woman Minding Sheep”, 1864


Jean-Ferdinand Chaigneau (1830–1906)

“Femme Gardant des Moutons” (transl. “Woman Minding Sheep”), 1864, published by Cadart & Luquet (fl.1863–67) in volume II of the Société des Aquafortistes’ “Eaux-Fortes Modernes: Originales et Inédites” (1864), printed by Auguste Delâtre (1822–1907) in Paris.

Etching on laid paper with full margins and deckle edges (as published).
Size: (sheet) 44.5 x 27 cm; (plate) 31.3 x 23.5 cm; (image borderline) 27 x 19.9 cm.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (lower right) “F. Chaigneau”
Lettered on plate above the image borderline: (left) “A MR. JULES CLARETIE.”; (right) “104.”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “F. Chaigneau sculp.”; (centre) “FEMME GARDANT DES MOUTONS”; (right) “Imp. Delâtre, Rue St. Jacques, 3o3, Paris.”

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 104: shepherdess amongst sheep, haystacks and buildings beyond; from the second volume of prints produced by the Société des Aquafortistes.”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression with full margins as published. There is minor age-toning (i.e. browning) to the edges of the sheet and signs of handling (i.e. a few marks and small breaks) otherwise the sheet is in very good condition.

I am selling this strong and very beautiful etching by the artist nicknamed, "le Raphael des moutons" [the Raphael of the sheep], who, together with Charles Jacque, was the most highly regarded artist specialising in images of sheep in the nineteenth century, for a total cost of AU$159 (currently US$121.94/EUR103.57/GBP90.84 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this large and important print by Chaigneau, please contact me at oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com and I will email you a PayPal invoice.

This print has been sold


Following in the footsteps of the great Millet, this etching has meanings beyond the portrayed scene showing a sleepy shepherdess attending to her flock on a ploughed field with haystacks in the distance. This composition is meant—or at least I think it is meant—to be like an icon capturing the poetic essence of a rural lifestyle that is fading, like the last vestiges of light illuminating the scene, with the approach of the industrial revolution.

For me, this image has great graphic strength. Note, for example, how the angle of the rod that the shepherdess holds is nearly the same angle as the silhouetted forms of the distant haystacks. In my mind, this relationship of angles subliminally suggests that the shepherdess’ head is the pinnacle of a foreground conical form which abstractly embraces the surrounding sheep similar to the conical forms of the haystacks.

At a very fundamental level, however, what I really love about this image is the sheep on the right that is looking at me over the top of its mates. The visual connection that this sheep makes creates a reflexive response that keeps me instinctively engaged in looking back at its smiling face and “into” the scene.







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