Gallery of prints for sale

Sunday 29 October 2023

Paul Borel’s etching, “The Pilgrim Near the Tree”, c. 1880

Paul Borel (aka André Marie Paul Borel) (1828–1913)

“The Pilgrim Near the Tree” (aka “Le Pèlerin Près de l'Arbre”), c. 1880, a proof-state impression signed in ink by the artist with a hand-written dedication in ink on heavy wove paper.

Size: (sheet) 31.5 x 43.5 cm; (plate) 19.5 x 28.4 cm.

For those unfamiliar with this startlingly fine etcher (as exemplified in this wonderful etching), Paul Borel was introduced to etching by his cousin Jean Jacques de Boissieu (aka Jean Jacques de Boissieux) (1736–1810) and the outcome of this connection in terms of transferred skills is clear. Borel is also well-connected to the artists of the Barbizon School (notably Charles Daubigny [aka Charles François Daubigny] [1817–1878]) and the shared joy of working directly on the etching plate is also very apparent. What I find especially appealing about Borel’s etchings is the merging of informed observation of his chosen subject (e.g., the portrayed tree here looks solid and “real”) with the added dimension of revealing a personal mindset shaped by the artist’s religious convictions. What I mean by this is that the tree is like a symbol of life that the pilgrim contemplates and the far horizon is similarly more than just an atmospheric blurring of details: to my eyes the representation of far distance represents the transcendent future of the path on which the pilgrim travels. (My apologies if I am wrong in my reading of this print.) In lots of ways, this perfect merging of reality with personal response is the key that makes Borel a marvellous artist; an artist who (I think) compares well with Adolphe Appian (1818–1898) and even perhaps regarding this print, the great Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840).

For a marvellous/must read account of Paul Borel, including the recent “discovery” of his work, see

Inscribed in plate along the lower edge at right: (difficult to decipher) “[B]o[r]el 188[0?] [there may be additional letters further to the lower right corner].

Hand-signed and inscribed with a dedication in ink below the platemark: (I have tried unsuccessfully to read the inscription beyond a few words).  

Condition: a richly inked, strong, and near faultless impression in a near pristine condition with no tears, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing.

I am selling this marvellous proof-state hand-signed etching—to my eyes a genuinely remarkable masterwork! …but I love visually arresting images like this! —for the total cost of AU$304 (currently US$203.19/EUR183.85/GBP161.84 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 superb etching, 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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