Monday, 8 April 2019
Paul Edme Le Rat's etching (with remarque), "Portrait d'Homme”, 1873
Paul Edme Le Rat (aka Paul Edme Rat; Paul Edme Lerat; Paul Edmunde Le Rat) (1842/49–92)
"Portrait d'Homme”, 1873, after the painting by Sebastiano del Piombo (c1485–1547) from the Rothan collection (inscribed on plate), ultimately published (when formally lettered with publication details) in the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts” in Paris (1873).
Etching with remarque on chine-collé on cream laid paper, signed (in charcoal?) with a hand-written dedication to what I believe may be the painter, printmaker and draughtsman, Edmond Hédouin (1820–89)—but this may be incorrect.
Size: (sheet) 48.5 x 34 cm; (plate) 23 x 17 cm; (image borderline) 16 x 12.2 cm
Inscribed on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Le Rat sc”; (centre) “Collection be [de?] Mr Rothan”
Inscribed with charcoal (?) below the platemark at lower right with a hand-signed inscription that is difficult to decipher. Arguably, the inscription is dedicated to Edmond Hédouin but this reading may be incorrect.
Remarque (scratch) proof before formal lettering with publication details.
IFF 14 (Département des Estampes 1930, “Inventaire du Fonds, Français: graveurs du XVIIe siècle”, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale).
See the brief description of this print at Harvard Art Museums:
Condition: superb, richly inked and well-printed impression with a remarque print featuring a finger-tip pointing towards the back view of a woman. The sheet has wide margins and is laid onto a conservator’s support of fine washi paper. The sheet is in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing).
I am selling this hand-signed and eye-catching etching by Le Rat, for a total cost of AU$230 (currently US$163.49/EUR145.31/GBP125.24 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 rare print with its fascinating remarque image of a woman, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
Le Rat is one of the better known of the nineteenth century reproductive printmakers (i.e. artists who were able to translate/copy other artists’ artworks into etchings and engravings ready for publication). Like many printmakers towards the end of that century, however, Le Rat was fully aware that prints with remarques (i.e. lightly incised “test” images usually seen immediately below the image borderline)—like this impression—made the prints desirable and very marketable outside of their ultimate use as book illustrations.
Originally, remarques were strictly functional in terms of being quickly drawn “test” images on the printing plate designed to assist the artist when etching and engraving. Before publication, these test images were erased as they were never intended to be an integral part of the finished print.
Notwithstanding their intended function, late nineteenth-century collectors sought to acquire these proof impressions with remarques because they were rare. Unsurprisingly, artists were not blind to this potential market, and created especially appealing remarque proofs to satisfy the collectors’ passion for these proof states.
What fascinates me about this remarque, featuring a back-view of the upper-half of a clothed woman, is trying to find a relationship between the portrait of the man and the woman. Clearly there must be one as Le Rat has lightly sketched a finger-tip—not quite the same as the index finger of the sitter in the portrait—pointing to the lady.