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Friday 20 October 2023

Ludovic Napoléon Lepic’s etching, “Environs de Dordrecht”, c.1876

Ludovic Napoléon Lepic (aka Viscomte Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic) (1839–1889)

Environs de Dordrecht”, c.1876, from the series, “Croquis Hollandais et Autres”, published in 1876 in Paris by Alfred Cadart (aka [publications made by his widow] Veuve Cadart) (1875–1882) as plate 325 to “L'Illustration Nouvelle”, vol. 8.

Etching with plate tone on laid paper.

Size: (sheet) 27 x 32.7 cm; (platemark) 16.1 x 24.1 cm; (image borderline) 15 x 23.2 cm.

Numbered in plate: (upper right corner) “325.”

Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (lower left corner) “Lepic”.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “L.Lepic, prinx. et sculp.”; (centre) “ENVIRONS DE DORDRECHT”; (right) “Vve A.Cadart,Edit.Imp.56.BardHaussmann,Paris.”

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 [series]); IFF 108 (Inventaire du Fonds Français après 1800, Paris, 1937–1985, XIV.66.108).

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’ [l’eau-forte mobile]." (p. 144).

Condition: a strong and skilfully wiped impression (e.g., the controlled wiping of the centre sail and suggestion of distance). Beyond a few minor marks in the margin, the sheet is in an excellent condition.

I am selling this bold etching exemplifying the artist’s confidence and free handling of the etching needle for AU$288 in total (currently US$192.50/EUR174.17/GBP153.32 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 marvellous evocation of light and breeze on the Dordrecht's canals (havens)—note, for instance, how Lepic has wiped/removed the plate tone from the centre sail to capture the effect of bright light and, in doing so, draws attention to the freely drawn ripples in the sail—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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