Sunday, 15 July 2018
Valentin Lefebre’s etching, “Landscape with sleeping shepherd”, 1677/82
Valentin Lefebre (aka Valentin Le Fevre; Valentin Le Febre; Valentin Lefebure; Valentin Lefèvre) (1637 – 1677 [dates given by the BM & Ruggeri] or 1642/3–1683 [dates given by the MET & NGV])
“Landscape with sleeping shepherd” (Rijksmuseum title), 1677/82, in reverse to the drawing of the same subject by Titian (1489/90–1576) held by the Louvre (Inv. No. 5534), from the series of 53 etchings after Titian and Veronese (Ruggeri I.1-53; Hollstein X,1-53), “Opera Selectiora” (aka “Opera selectiora quae Titianus Vecellius Cadubriensis et Paulus Calliari Veronensis inventarunt ac pinxerunt”), published by Jacobus van Campen (fl.1682) in Venice.
Regarding the publication of the series, “Opera Selectiora,” the BM offers the following information:
“The series was left unfinished at his early death, and finally published in 1682 by Jacques van Campen (the 1680 edition does not seem to exist). It was reprinted in 1684, and in the XVIIIc in 1749, 1763; later by Teodoro Viero who added his address to the plates (editions in 1786 and 1789).” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=117639)
Etching on laid paper trimmed with narrow margins to the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (support sheet) 34 x 48.5 cm; (sheet) 25.7 x 40.7 cm; (image borderline) 25.1 x 40.2 cm
Inscribed on plate within the lower image borderline: (left) "T[?]an. in"; (left of centre) "J. Van Campen Formis Venetÿs."; (right of centre) "V. lefebre del. et sculp."'
State i (of ii) before the address of Teodoro Viero of the later 1786 and 1789 editions.
Ruggeri 2001 I.23 (Ugo Ruggeri 2001, “Valentin Lefèvre: dipinti, disegni, incisioni”, Merigo Art Books, Manerba, p. 217, cat. nr. I. 23); Villot 23 (Frédéric Villot 1844, "Valentin Lefebre, peintre et graveur à l'eau-forte", in 'Le Cabinet de l'amateur et de l'antiquaire', 3, 1844, pp. 169–197); Hollstein Dutch 1-53 (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam)
The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “Landscape with a sleeping shepherd under a tree. A herd of animals grazes next to him. A brook winds through the landscape to the right, houses stand in the distance. The print is part of a 53-part series of prints based on paintings by Titian and Veronese.”
See also the description of the print at the British Museum:
“Landscape with a flock of sheep and a goat grazing in the foreground, a shepherd sleeping at left, a river with a bridge at right, a village in the background; after Titian. 1682”
Regarding the BM’s date of “1682” for the print, I suspect that this refers to the date of publication rather than its date of execution otherwise there is an anomaly with the BM’s birth and death dates for the artist given as “1637–1677”.
Condition: faultless, richly inked, crisp and well-printed early impression with minor marks appropriate to the age of the print otherwise the sheet is in excellent condition. The print is backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.
I am selling this large masterpiece of etching that seems to shimmer with light, for AU$243 (currently US$180.48/EUR154.40/GBP136.37 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 extraordinary interpretation of a landscape by Titian, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
Although the captured shimmering light and movement underpinning this etching is symptomatic of Lefevre’s interest in the period style now called Mannerism, this print also captures the spirit of the sleeping (and perhaps inebriated—judging by his tankard) herdsman on the far left of the composition. From my standpoint, this depiction of landscape is less rooted in what could be seen but rather it is driven by an emotional response to the sensory experience of landscape; an almost hallucinogenic account of the landscape features.