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Monday 21 October 2019

Valentin Lefebre's etching, “Cain Kills Abel”, 1682, after Titian

Valentin Lefebre (aka Valentin Le Fevre; Valentin Le Febre; Valentin Lefebure; Valentin Lefèvre) (1637–1677)
“Cain Kills Abel” (Caino e Abele) , 1682, plate 1 from the series of fifty-three plates, “Opera Selectiora” (aka “Opera selectiora quae Titianus Vecellius Cadubriensis et Paulus Calliari Veronensis inventarunt ac pinxerunt”), after one of the three ceiling paintings by Titian (aka Tiziano Vecellio) (1489/90–1576) originally in the church of Santo Spirito in Isola and later transferred in 1657 to the sacristy of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice (see to Ruggeri [2001]), published by Jacobus van Campen (fl.1682) in Venice.
Regarding the publication of “Opera Selectiora”, the British Museum advises:
“The series was left unfinished at his [Valentin Lefebre's] early death, and finally published in 1682 by Jacques van Campen (the 1680 edition does not seem to exist). It was reprinted in 1684, and in the XVIIIc in 1749, 1763; later by Teodoro Viero who added his address to the plates (editions in 1786 and 1789).” (  
Etching on laid paper backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 35.6 x 32.1 cm.; (plate) 33.8 x 30.4 cm.; (image borderline) 28.9 x 29.8 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) V. Lefebre del. et sculp.”; (centre) “Titianvs Vecellivs, Cad, Invent, &, Pinxit,”; (right) “J. Van Campen. Formis. Venetÿs.”
State i (of ii) before the addition of the later publisher’s [Teodoro Viero's] address.
Ruggeri I.I (Ugo Ruggeri 2001, “Valentin Lefèvre: Dipinti, Disegni, Incisioni”, Manerba, Merigo Art Books, p. 211, cat. no. I.I); Hollstein Dutch 1–53  (FWH Hollstein 1953, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts ca. 1450–1700: L'Admiral–Lucas van Leyden”, vol. 10, Amsterdam, Menno Hertzberger, p. 46, cat. nos. 1–53).; Villot 1 (Frédéric Villot 1844, "Valentin Lefebre, peintre et graveur à l'eau-forte", in 'Le Cabinet de l'amateur et de l'antiquaire', vol. 3, p. 178, cat. no. 1).
The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(Transl.) “Cain beats Abel with a piece of wood. In the background the smoking sacrifice of Abel. The print is part of a 53-part series of prints based on paintings by Titian and Veronese.”
See also the description of this print offered by the British Museum:
Condition: richly inked, near faultless impression with a small margin (approx. 5 mm.) around the platemark. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing) and it is laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.
I am selling this visually arresting etching where the dramatic moment of Cain dispatching his brother (Genesis 4:8) is viewed from a very low viewpoint for AU$230 (currently US$158.20/EUR141.49/GBP121.74 at the time of posting this print) 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 fascinating graphic translation of Titian’s painting into line—note, for example, how Lefebre has enhanced (i.e. “toyed” with) Titian’s treatment of the plant at the lower-left so that its angle of lean is silhouetted against a white void of sky and how this accentuation of its leaning angle draws attention to the same angle of Abel’s flailing right leg—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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