Gallery of prints for sale

Thursday 4 August 2022

Charles Émile Jacque’s etching, “Death Playing the Violin”, 1846

Charles Émile Jacque (1813–1894)

“Death Playing the Violin” (aka “La Mort Jouant du Violon”), 1846, signed in the plate.

Etching with plate tone on warm grey chine collé on wove paper.

Size: (sheet) 26.3 x 17.3 cm; (plate) 11.9 x 8.9 cm; (chine collé) 11.6 x 8.6 cm; (image borderline) 11.3 x 8.2 cm.

Inscribed in plate at upper right: “ch J.”

Guiffrey 122 (J-J Guiffrey 1866, “L'Oeuvre de Charles Jacque: catalogue de ses eaux-fortes et pointes seches”, Paris, p. 73, cat. no. 122); IFF 145 (Jean Adhémar & Jacques Lethève 1954, “Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale”, Paris, Département des Estampes, cat. no. 145); Beraldi 124 (Henri Béraldi 1885–1892, “Les Graveurs du XIXe Siècle: Guide de l'Amateur d'Estampes Modernes”, vol. VIII, Paris, Librairie L. Conquet, p. 184, cat. no. 122 []).

Guiffrey (1866) offers the following description of this print: (transl.) “A skeleton, the head covered with a few dishevelled hairs, plays the violin in front of a large open book of music. We only see this macabre fantasy halfway up the body. 1846. Signed: Ch. J. This plate must be grouped with the collection of pseudo-Ribera [etchings], begun in 1845 (See [Guiffrey catalogue] numbers 53 to 56.)” (p. 74).

See also the descriptions of this print offered by the British Museum and the MET:;

Condition: a richly inked and near faultless impression with wide margins. The sheet is in a near pristine condition with no stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this visually arresting etching by one of the luminaries of the Barbizon School for AU$277 (currently US$192.96/EUR189.73/GBP158.78 at the time of posting this print) 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 fascinatingly macabre etching portraying the personification of the death playing a violin while reading from the symbolic manuscript of life—possibly the artist’s response of deep despair following the death of his daughter the year before (forgive me if I am wrong about this)—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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