Léon Coutil (aka Léon Marie Coutil) (1856–1943)
“Portrait of Émile-Alexandre Taskin”, 1883, a proof impression with the printmaker’s name (Léon Coutil) lightly scratched into the plate and with the artist’s hand-inscribed ink dedication and description on the lower edge, after a painting of the same composition by Charles Giron (1850-1914), executed in 1881 and exhibited in the Salon of the same year (based on the caption to an earlier engraving of Giron’s painting published in 1881 by Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co in “The Magazine of Art”, vol. 4, p. 454).
Note that the description of Giron’s painting in “The Magazine of Art” (1881) proposes that it shows the baritone, Émile-Alexandre Taskin (1853–1897), performing as Doctor Miracle in Georges Bizet’s (1838–1875) one-act operetta, “Le Docteur Miracle”. This description, however, may be an incorrect as my reading of the faded inscription shown at lower-left on Coutil’s etching advises that the subject is Émile-Alexandre Taskin performing in “Tales of Hoffmann” (aka “Les Contes d'Hoffmann”)—an opera by Jacques Offenbach (aka Jacob Offenbach) (1819–1880). I believe that the second description makes more sense as the devices attached to the portrayed figure’s (Taskin’s) fingers look like a puppeteer’s control bars for a marionette—mindful that a mechanical doll named Olympia features in the “Tales of Hoffmann.”
Etching and drypoint with plate tone on fine Oriental (Japon) paper with wide margins and faded ink inscriptions possibly by the artist.
Size: (sheet) 37.3 x 23.5 cm; (plate) 28.5 x 15 cm; (image borderline) 25.9 x 14.2 cm.
Inscribed in plate: (within the image borderline at lower left) “C: GIRON. 1881.”; (below the image borderline at centre) “Léoncoutil/ 1883”.
Hand inscribed in ink (faded): (lower left) “Salon d. 1883/ Portrait de M Taskin de l’Opéra-Comique/contes d’Hoffmann”; (lower right) “A Monsieur Herissay/ hommage de l'auteur/ Coutil”.
Condition: a strong and well-printed proof-state impression with generously wide margins. There are no tears, holes, folds, significant stains or foxing, but the hand-inscribed ink dedication and notes by the artist are faded.
I am selling this amazing portrait of the baritone, Émile-Alexandre Taskin—a brave man who received a medal for his actions in saving the lives of many patrons when the building of the Opéra-Comique in Paris caught fire in 1887—for AU$289 (currently US$198.99/EUR200.36/GBP169.13 at the time of 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 exceptionally rare and very dramatic etching, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold