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Monday 10 February 2020

Paul Ponce Antoine Robert de Séri & Nicolas Le Sueur's, "Assumption of the Virgin", 1729, after Giuseppe Passer

Paul Ponce Antoine Robert de Séri (aka Paul-Ponce-Antoine Robert) (1686–1733) and Nicolas Le Sueur (aka Nicolas Lesueur) (1690-1764)

“Assumption of the Virgin” (aka “L'Assomption de la Ste. Vierge” [as inscribed on plate]), 1729–64, after the drawing by Giuseppe Passeri (1654–1714), plate 131 from the series, “Recueil d'estampes d'après les plus beaux tableaux et d'après les plus beaux desseins qui sont en France” (aka “Recueil Crozat”; “Cabinet Crozat”), published by Basan in 1764.

Etching with aquatint in the style of a chiaroscuro woodcut on laid paper (with a watermark) with the collection stamp of Johann Balthasar Bullinger the Elder (1713–1793) (Lugt 3292). Note that the earlier states of this print (c.1729) show use of etching with a woodcut plate rather than the later state of the Basan edition (1764) where etching is employed with an aquatint plate.

Size: (sheet) 42.6 x 28.5 cm; (plate) 29.7 x 23.7 cm; (image borderline) 25.3 x 22.5 cm.

Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (centre) “L'Assomption de la Ste. Vierge. / D’après le dessein de Joseph Passari, qui est dans le le Cabinet de Mr Croza[t] / Gravé à l'eau forte par P. P. A. Robert, et en bois sous sa conduite par Nicolas le Sueur”; (lower right corner) “131”.

Robert-Dumesnil 1835-71 I.283.12 (Robert-Dumesnil, A P F, “Le Peintre-Graveur Français”, 11 vols.); Le Blanc II.543.10 (Charles Le Blanc 1854–1888, “Manuel de l'amateur d'estampes: contenant le dictionnaire des graveurs de toutes les nations”, 4 vols., Paris, cat. no. 10, p. 543).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print from the same state:
“Assumption of the Virgin, carried into heavens by angels; within oval; after a drawing by Giuseppe Passeri. c.1729/64 Aquatint imitating a chiaroscuro woodcut, printed in one shade of brown over etched lines” (

See variations in the colours employed in this print at the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( and in the earlier state of this print at Harvard Art Museums (

The curator of the BM offers the following insights into the series known as 'Recueil Crozat” of which this print is number 79:
“… a series of plates commissioned by Crozat and reproducing famous paintings and drawings of the era; 140 plates were published in 1729. A second volume formed by 42 prints (instead of the 110 plates initially planned) was issued in 1740.
After Crozat's death, the plates were sold to a company of booksellers who commissioned Mariette to reorganize the 'Recueil'; Mariette divided the plates into two volumes, added some missing descriptions, and advertised the set to the public in 1742.
In 1764, Basan bought the plates and the text, and republished the 'Recueil', but replaced the woodcuts by intaglio prints. ... where an attempt to imitate the effect of a chiaroscuro woodcut is made by using aquatint instead; some of the plates from this edition bear the signature of F. P. Charpentier, who invented a method akin to aquatint ... Basan also published the 45 plates reproducing the Italian paintings from the collection of the Duc d'Orléans in a volume entitled 'Recueil d'après la gallerie du palais royal' (see Heinecken, 'Idée générale d'une collection d'estampes', Paris 1771, p.76)” (

Condition: near faultless impression with margins. The sheet is in excellent condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, losses, abrasions, foxing or significant stains). There are previous collectors’ notes in ink and pencil verso and a collector’s ink stamp: “Bullinger” (Lugt 3292)—the stamp most likely belongs to the Swiss artist and collector, Johann Balthasar Bullinger the Elder (1713–1793); otherwise it is the stamp of his grandson, Johann Balthasar Bullinger the Younger (1777–1844).

I am selling this museum quality, early intaglio print replicating the illusion of a chiaroscuro woodcut print for the total price of AU$284 (currently US$190.07/EUR173.49/GBP147.38 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this strong print and a marvellous example of 18th century technical excellence in the subtle art of trompe l'oeil, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Collector's stamp verso

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