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Tuesday 26 October 2021

Ludovic Lepic's etching, "Moonlit Night", c1870

Ludovic Lepic (aka Ludovic Napoléon Lepic; Vicomte Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic) 1839–1889

“Moonlit Night” (aka “Moonlight Night” [“Лунная ночь” Hermitage Museum]), c1870, from the series, “Landscapes of Holland” (Beraldi “Dutch Sketches”), signed by the artist in the plate at upper edge and hand-signed by the artist in blue crayon at lower left.

Etching (and aquatint?) with roulette and plate tone from free wiping by the artist (“l'eau-forte mobile” [variable etching]), signed in the plate and by hand in blue crayon, with wide margins.

Size: (sheet) 28.9 x 43.1 cm; (plate) 14.4 x 18.8 cm; (image borderline) 13.7 x 17.4 cm.

Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (along the upper edge at left) “Lepic”.

Hand-signed in blue crayon below the image borderline: (lower left) “Lepic”.

Beraldi 4 (Henri Beraldi 1889, “Les Graveurs du XIXe Siècke; guide de l'amateur d'estampes modernes”, vol. 9, Paris, L Conquet, p. 143, cat. no. 4 [Croquis hollandaise]).

Henri Beraldi (1889) offers the following insight about Lepic’s approach to wiping the etching plate:

(Transl.) “… Count Lepic was particularly attached to the question of the impression, and the varieties of effects that obtained from a plate according to the inking mode. ... he would say, ‘the secret of etching as I get it … is the use of ink and rag: with these two weapons you can get anything from a plate. I am master in front of my plate as in front of a canvas, I can transform all the subjects according to my fancy, modify their effects. This process existed from the time of great master engravers, and I have found it. ... Count Lepic called this kind of printing with the rather singular name ‘mobile etching’." (p. 144).

See the descriptions of this print offered by Binoche et Giquello auctions and by the Hermitage Museum (the latter site may be slow to open):;

Condition: a richly inked, but (in my opinion) a slightly over-wiped impression in an almost pristine condition (i.e., the sheet has no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling) with generously wide margins.

I am selling this rarely seen, hand-signed etching exemplifying the artist’s well-known approach to printing—termed “l'eau-forte mobile” [the mobile/variable etching])—for AU$426 in total (currently US$319.93/EUR275.49/GBP232.34at 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 fine example of an artist’s selective wiping of a printing plate to create the poetic effect of moonlight illuminating sailing boats and distant windmills, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold 

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