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Thursday 16 February 2023

Félix Buhot’s etching with aquatint, “The Adoration of the Magi”, 1878, after Jean Pénicaud II

Félix Buhot (aka Félix Hilaire Buhot; Tohub [Buhot, in reverse]—interestingly this reverse name is inscribed [but now erased?] in the aquatint border of the second state) (1847–1898)

“The Adoration of the Magi” (aka “Émail de Jean Pénicaud II”; “Enamel of Jean Pénicaud II” “L'Adoration des Mages [Grisaille, attribuée à Jean Pénicaud II]”), 1878, after a plaque that was formerly in the Spitzer collection (auctioned in 1893) painted in grisaille enamel attributed to Jean Pénicaud II (c1515–c588), printed by Alfred Cadart (1828–1875) in Paris in the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts”, August 1881, p. 431.

Etching and aquatint printed in a blue-black ink on fine wove paper with full margins (as published) with remarques in all margins.

Size: (sheet) 17.9 x 27.5 cm; (plate) 15.5 x 21.6 cm: (image borderline) 12.6 x 18.5 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “Félix Buhot, sc./ Gazette des Beaux-Arts.”; (centre) “L'ADORATION DES MAGES [GRISAILLE, ATTRIBUÉE À JEAN PENICAUD II.]”; “Email de la Collection Spitzer./ Imp, Cadart, Paris”.

State iv (of iv) with the addition of publication details.

Bourcard/Goodfriend 25 (Gustave Bourcard & James Goodfriend 1979, “Félix Buhot: Catalogue Descriptif de son Oeuvre Gravé”, New York, Martin Gordon Inc., pp. 14–15, cat. no. 25 [4e Etat]); IFF  25 (Jean Laran 1930, “Inventaire du fonds français: graveurs du dix-huitième siècle”, Bibliothèque nationale de France, vol. 3, p. 505, cat. no. 25).

Gustave Bourcard & James Goodfriend (1979) offer the following description of this print: (transl.) “Seated on the left, the Virgin, her head surrounded by a halo, holds Jesus in her arms, whom she presents to the Magi who come to adore him and bring him presents. One of them, on the right, is kneeling and kissing the left foot of the Saviour; another, on the left, goes behind the Virgin by raising the curtain of a door. At the bottom of the print, we can see a castle; on the left, on the hill, a second castle, other magi and a horse profiled on the left, held in hands by a young squire” (p. 14).

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression with margins as published in near pristine condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this very beautiful etching and aquatint by one of the most creatively inventive printmakers of the etching revival period—especially famous for his “symphonic margins” (marges symphoniques)—for the total cost of AU$254 (currently US$175.81/EUR164.16/GBP145.96 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 precious etching of a plaque painted in grisaille enamel—a process involving layers of white enamel of varying transparency applied over a black base to create an image in a range of grey tones—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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