Friday, 20 July 2018

A pair of William Unger’s self-portrait etchings, 1880/93


William Unger (aka Wilhelm Unger) (1837–1932)

Left image:
“Self-Portrait”, 1880, illustration to Philip Gilbert Hamerton’s (1834–1894) “Etching and Etchers” (1880 edition).
Etching on cream laid paper with margins (as published).
Size: (sheet) 29.2 x 21.4 cm; (plate) 20.4 x 12.7 cm
Condition: faultless impression with generous margins in near pristine condition (with an intrinsic—“naturally occurring”—thin spot in the laid paper towards the lower left centre).
The British Museum offers a description of this print:

Right image:
“Artist smoking the etching plate” (descriptive title only), c1892–94, in-text illustration to “Die vervielfältigende Kunst der Gegenwart” (volume 3?), trimmed without the text line: “Original-Radirung von W Unger.”
Etching with aquatint and roulette on wove paper trimmed within the platemark and backed on a support sheet.
Size: (re-margined support sheet) 29.8 x 24.5 cm; (sheet) 11.6 x 7.9 cm
Condition: crisp impression trimmed within the platemark and remargined with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this pair of original etchings by William Unger for AU$200 (currently US$147.53/EUR126.49/GBP113.10 at the time of posting 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 pair of self-portrait etchings by Unger, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


These prints have been sold











For those wondering about the portrayed technique of the artist adding a layer of soot to his etching plate so that he—I believe that this is a self-portrait of William Unger—will be able to see the gleam of copper through blackened etching ground when it is inscribed, I have extracted the following instructions by George T Plowman (1914) from his amazingly clear treatise, “Etching and Other Graphic Arts” (New York, John Lane Company):

“To smoke the plate use a bundle of twisted wax tapers. Let the plate get cold before smoking on account of the danger of burning the ground. In smoking, hold the plate face downward by the hand-vise high above the head Pass quickly backward and forward the lighted tapers. Be careful to smoke the edges. The centre will get enough smoke in covering the edges. Be very careful not to burn the ground either by stopping too long in one place or getting the taper too near the plate. The flame, but not the wick, should touch the ground. A little practise will enable the beginner to get a beautiful, dull back surface, like polished ebony, all over the plate. If you find any parts that are not smooth and are grey and shiny, the ground has been burned, and you must wash it all off with turpentine and begin again, since burned ground will not resist the acid.” (Plowman, pp. 89–90).







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