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Sunday 16 October 2016

Vicomte Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic’s etching, “Intérieur d’étable”

Vicomte Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic (aka Ludovic Napoléon Lepic; Ludovic Lepic) (1839–89)
“Intérieur d’étable” (inside barn), 1869
Etching with roulette on fine laid paper with margins, proof before lettering.
Size: (sheet) 23.1 x 33.9 cm; (plate) 17.9 x 24.7 cm

Condition: exceptionally rare proof before lettering. The impression is richly inked and well printed and the sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no stains, tears, abrasions, holes, losses or foxing).

I am selling this early and rare proof impression by Lepic—a close friend of Degas and, like Degas, an artist famous his exploratory use of printing techniques—for the total cost of [deleted] including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this very beautifully executed etching by one of the famous master printmakers of the nineteenth century, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

This is an early etching by Lepic and an exceptionally rare one, as it is a proof before lettering with publication details. In many ways this seemingly simple portrayal of a child feeding a cow and its calf in a barn reveals elements of the creative invention that ultimately made Lepic one of the famous French printmakers. For example, note how Lepic casts an almost theatrical spotlight upon the scene so that the lower half of the child is in shadow along with the rest of the interior of the barn. Note also how he fades the shadows using the compositional device of the vignette to connote the periphery of the scene and employs the marks of a dot roulette to give visual richness to the shadows.

Regarding Lepic’s explorations that cemented his fame, Michel Melot (1966) in “The Impressionist Print” proposes that Lepic would “have been forgotten as a printmaker had he not published in 1876 a curious album of prints … ‘L’eau-forte mobile’ (‘The Mobile Etching’)” (p. 123). The ingredient that aroused public interest in Lepic was his willingness to push the boundaries of the medium. For example, Lepic inked one of his etched plates in eighty-five different ways to create eighty-five very different images taken from the same original plate. In Lepic’s own words (translated from French):

“I organised tools of my own, used neat acid, slammed on varnish, sand clay—anything to achieve the right black. … I shall make prints like a painter, not like a printmaker.” (Melot p.123)

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