Friday, 3 August 2018

Alexandre Calame’s lithograph, “A Brook near Geneva, Suisse”, 1851


Alexandre Calame (aka Alexandre Calam; Alexandre Calamy) (1810–64)

“A Brook near Geneva, Suisse”, 1851, from the suite of fifty lithographs, “Oeuvres de A. Calame”, printed by Jacomme & Cie (c.fl.1855) and published by François Delarue (fl.1850–60s).

Lithograph on buff coloured chine-collé on heavy wove white paper backed with a support sheet
Size: (sheet) 36.4 x 46 cm; (image) 21.4 x 32.9 cm
Signed on plate within the image borderline: (lower left) “A. Calame”
Lettered on plate above the image borderline: (left) “OEUVRES DE A CALAME”; (right) “No. 3.”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Esquisse peinte.”; (centre) “Imp. Lith de Jacomme & Cie. R de Lancry. 12.”; (right) ”F. DELARUE, Edit r. J.J. Rousseau, 10, Paris.”

The Fine Art Museums of San Franscisco offer a brief description of this print: https://art.famsf.org/alexandre-calame/brook-near-geneva-suisse-1851-fifty-lithographs-oeuvres-de-calame-19633017522

Condition: faultless impression with wide margins in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or signs of handling). The sheet is backed on a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this exceptionally beautiful lithograph by one of the major Swiss artists of the 19th century for AU$143 in total (currently US$105.82/EUR91.29/GBP81.14 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 masterpiece of lithography revealing Calame’s fascination with the sparkling effects of light and executed at the time when the French Impressionists were also exploring the effects of light, 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


I have discussed Calame’s prints a few times before and proposed that the artist leaned strongly towards images of the sublime in landscape. By this I mean that his compositions expressed his feeling of awe and wonderment with the forces of nature by using picarious viewpoints overlooking deep ravines, craggy rocks, surging water with stupendously high Apine mountains that subliminally make the viewer feel very small.

I could pretend that this very romantic scene showcases a continuation of such an interest in spiritual power shaping nature—and to a degree the artist’s deep reverence for nature is still evident—but I believe that this image is not so much about projecting feelings of awe. Instead, the underpinning focus is the effect of a very special light. This is not an everyday experience of daylight, but rather the effect of sunlight flickering as patches of pure bright light—viz. the white of the paper—peeping through gaps in the foliage and as reflected light illuminating rocks and the surface of water.







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