Saturday, 7 March 2020
Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gourdaine’s miniature etching, “Head of a Man with a Feather Cap”, 1778
Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gourdaine (aka Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gordaine) (1745–1830)
“Head of a Man with a Feather Cap” (MIA title), 1778
Etching on ivory wove (China) paper with small margins and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 3.9 x 3.1 cm; (oval plate) 2.9 x 2.4 cm.
Inscribed on plate at left: “nf./ 1778” (Note: Hillemacher  proposes that the plate is inscribed with an uppercase “N”, but on close examination I believe that ïnscription is lowercase “nf”—an abbreviation for “Norblin fecit” [Norblin made it].)
State ii (of ii) lettered with date.
Hillemacher 1848 55.II (Frédéric Hillemacher 1848, “Catalogue des estampes qui composent l'oeuvre de Jean-Pierre Norblin”, Paris, Lacrampe et Fertiaux, p. 34, cat. no. 55).
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Head of a man, facing front, with hat adorned with feather; on white ground; within oval; second state, with letter”
Interestingly, Hillemacher (1848) in his catalogue raisonné for this artist advises that the subject is not wearing a hat but, instead, is (transl.) “a young man with frizzy hair” (p. 34). Hillemacher also points out this this print is “rare”.
See also the description of this print at the Minneapolis Institute of Art:
Condition: richly inked and well-printed, faultless impression with small margins. The sheet is in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of use) and is laid onto a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.
I am selling this small jewel of an etching—the oval image is approximately the size of a thumbnail—by one of the most important artists of the Enlightenment in Poland for AU$280 (currently US$186.10/EUR164.79/GBP142.64 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 small masterwork from the 1700s following in the tradition of Rembrandt's use of dramatic (chiaroscuro) lighting but where the rendering of the face occupies no more space than the size of a pea, 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