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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Heliogravure after Félix Bracquemond's etching, “Charles Méryon”, 1853

Félix Bracquemond (aka Joseph Auguste Félix Bracquemond; Joseph Félix Bracquemond) (1833–1914)

“Charles Méryon” (aka “Portrait de Meryon”; “Portrait of Artist Charles Meryon”), 1853, printed by Alfred Salmon (fl.1863–1894) and published in the June 1, 1884 edition of the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts”, opposite page 518.

Heliogravure on cream wove paper with full margins, two binding holes within the flattened left publication fold (as bound in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts).

Note: Boullion (1987) offers the following information regarding the original etching plate and the subsequent printing as a heliogravure plate:
(transl.) “plate made in 1853, then destroyed after a print [edition] of ten proofs; reproduced by the Amand-Durand process then reduced and published in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts on June 1, 1884” (p. 34).

From what I understand from reading about this print in Boullion’s catalogue raisonné, Meryon was far from happy about Bracquemond’s portrait of him and it may Meryon (but I may be wrong) that destroyed the original etching plate to make his dissatisfaction known.

A friend to both Meryon and Bracquemond, the art critic Philippe Burty, makes the following insightful comment (in translation from Boullion) about this portrait:
“The physiognomy is serious; the eyes have a piercing, insecure look like that of a beast who realizes that he is being observed” (Burty 1868).

Size: (sheet) 28 x 20.3 cm.; (plate) 19.5 x 14.3 cm.; (image borderline) 18.5 x 13.3 cm.
Inscribed on plate: (upper left) “à Ch.M./ B./ 1853”; (upper right) “Gazette des Beaux-Arts.”; (lower right corner) “Imp. A. Salmon.”
State iv (of iv) with inscribed publication details of the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts.”

Bouillon Aa 14-4 (4) (Jean-Paul Bouillon 1987, “Félix Bracquemond: Le Réalisme Absolu: Œuvre Gravé 1849–1859”, Skira, Genève, Skira, pp. 34–35); IFF 36; Beraldi 77

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this heliogravure :
(transl.) “Portrait of the artist Charles Meryon in half-figure sitting on a chair three-quarters to the right with his arm nonchalantly resting on the backrest. At the top left is the year in which the man was recorded. At the top right is the title of the magazine in which the portrait was published.”

Condition: well-printed, richly inked impression in near pristine condition as published. There are previous collectors’ pencil notations on both sides of the sheet.

I am selling this famous heliogravure etching—the original etching plate was destroyed (possibly by the sitter as a sign of disapproval) after only ten proofs were pulled—for the total cost of AU$368 (currently US$248.55/EUR225.83/GBP196.66 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 historically important heliogravure of one of the most famous French printmakers of the 19th century, 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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