Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

interview

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Schrank’s Discourse Ranges Widely but inevitably Comes Back to “Connoisseurship”

Harris Schrank

 

Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been in the print business? How did you happen to become a fine-art-print dealer?
A: I became a print dealer about 10 years ago, after collecting prints for many years (and after a long run as a practicing sociologist and then a shorter stint as a corporate bureaucrat).

Q: Is there a “standard route” into print dealing-art history degree, apprenticeship in an established business, own shop-or do dealers tend to come from varied background and access routes. Does it run in families?
A: There’s no standard route. People from all sorts of backgrounds get caught up in prints – I know one dealer who was a cardiologist and another a pediatrician, any number of lawyers and accountants, a music critic, graphic designer, daughters and sons of dealers. Here and there one finds someone who actually studied art, worked at a gallery, and then became an independent dealer. One would think that would be the conventional route, but it’s not that common.

Q: Judging from the excellent brief guides you have published on ebay, your discourse centers around “connoisseurship.” It sems to be about print erudition. Is that a fair assertion? What, from your point of view, are the joys and benefits of knowing a lot about prints, both for collectors and dealers?
A: The more prints you see and study, the more you appreciate. In the contemporary field images and impressions from a single edition tend to be quite alike, in fact that’s a usual objective of the printer making an edition. But historically the printmaker – who often was also the artist – was not so concerned with creating a uniform edition as creating different variations upon the same theme. So the artist would change the print through various states, or use different inking and papers, thereby getting different results. Rembrandt approached printmaking in this way, as later did hundreds of artists such as Pissarro and Degas, Whistler and even Picasso. So it’s a good idea to know a lot about how these artists worked when examining their prints. And even among the artists who tended to make prints in just a few states, and worked toward a definitive state, connoisseurship is needed to determine which impressions they printed personally, which are earliest or best reflect the intent of the artist.

Q: How does one go about acquiring enough print erudition to be a knowledgeable collector? How much is enough?
A: The basic task is to see lots of examples of the same image. In a good print room like those at the Metropolitan Museum or the National Gallery it’s possible to see a number of Durer engravings of Adam and Eve, or Rembrandt’s Three Crosses, for example, and see how different they can be in quality, printing approach, inking, paper, etc. Once you’ve seen a number of impressions of a print you can start to make judgements about a print’s quality.

Q: In your experience, roughly what percentage of print collectors take it upon themselves to learn about prints in a serious way? How many of them succeed in becoming true print connoisseurs. Or do most of them leave the question of print connoisseurship to their dealers?
A: In my experience most print collectors are rather serious, and I’d regard quite a number as connoisseurs, but perhaps this is a characteristic of the “pre-contemporary” print field. Many collectors are fussy about condition, but obsessing about condition shouldn’t be confused with connoisseurship. Connoisseurship involves making distinctions among various impressions of the same print, knowing about print techniques, papers, the art historical context, etc. Collectors are wise to work with knowledgeable dealers who can help them locate and select prints, but if they “delegate” too many matters of connoisseurship they’re missing lots of the fun of collecting.

Q: How many of your clients “keep coming back for more?” Aside from the obvious monetary question, is it a great satisfaction for a dealer to nurture a client from rank beginner to serious collector?
A: I enjoy working with anyone interested in prints, regardless of their level of sophistication. The learning process is mutual, for often beginners ask good questions which lead me into areas I hadn’t considered. Of course I enjoy working with experienced collectors as well, and get some special satisfaction from finding something they haven’t seen, or locating a print they’ve been looking for or that fits well into their collection.

Q: Is it possible to construct a profile of the typical print collector. Or are there several profiles? What do they look like?
A: There are lots of types. Some focus on aesthetic issues, some on periods or art movements; some on a particular artist. Some are condition freaks, some want just lifetime impressions or just signed impressions; others search for pictures of certain things like skulls or boats or early New York scenes. Some people just seem to look for bargains, but they tend to have mediocre collections.

Q: Has your quest for connoisseurship taken you abroad? Is firsthand knowledge from, say, Europe, China or Japan necessary to take the connoisseuer to the next level?
A: It’s fun to see where an artist worked. I’ve been to Rembrandt’s House in Amsterdam, and James Ensor’s in Ostend, Belgium. And it’s great to see scenes such as the canals and bridges of Venice that were the subjects of Whistler etchings. But to me the real excitement is just seeing great impressions of great prints, and many of these (the ones I don’t own!) can be found in museums or collections nearby.

Q: This brings us to the question of specialization. Presumably it’s impossible to be a connoisseur of everything. How important is specialization? I noticed that two of your mini guides are devoted to Rembrandt and Goya. Are these two artists your specialties?
A: I love Goya and Rembrandt, and am somewhat conversant with them, but would not say they’re a specialty. I find I focus on artists for whom printmaking itself was a specialty, including for example Drer, Jacques Callot, Van Ostade among the old masters, Camille Pissarro and Jacques Villon among European impressionists and modernists, and among Americans, John Sloan and Reginald Marsh and of course James Whistler. Some dealers and collectors prefer to focus on a single artist, but I find that confining.

Q: What is the role and the importance of auction houses? To what extent has their credbility been eroded by the scandals of recent years. Are auction prices true indicators of the value of fine-art prints?
A: Auction houses are important to the print world, but they can be risky places to buy or sell prints. They sometimes get good prints, especially from estates, but also get problematic prints – the prints dealers and individuals either can’t sell or don’t want to be associated with when they’re sold. Collectors without the resources, time or knowledge to make good judgments among auction offerings are easy prey for the houses. And these days the houses are charging quite a bit – often on both ends – to sell things, so collectors need to be wary of paying too much for so-so quality items.

As for the usefulness of auction prices: the huge variability of prints and their auction prices severely limits the value of auction prices as indicators of value. So over-reliance on such records is a bad idea – high prices are too often the result of buyers caught up in an irrational bidding war, and low prices a reflection of low quality offerings. I find that these days – in the old master area especially – many of the finer or rarer impressions don’t reach the auction houses, but are sold privately.

Q: While we’re on the subject of value, where would you place fine-art prints as investments, say on a scale between General Motors and gold.
A: I’ve heard people say that these days prints are more blue chip than the traditional blue chips. I also sense that the market for older prints may be more stable than the contemporary market. Lots more might be said about all this but in general I’d encourage people to buy prints because they love them, not as an investment.

Q: On the subject of certificates of authenticity, you have been quoted as saying: “These have been thoroughly discredited in recent years; an inflated-sounding claim of a C of A is often a sign that there is a problem in the wings.” Would you care to elaborate on that affirmation a bit? We’ve been telling artists for years that the C of A is the way to go. Are there different criteria in this matter for contemporary prints and old masters? Isn’t a Fine Print Description just a more elaborate C of A? Isn’t it just as easy to falsify an FPD as a C of A?
A: An FPD is my own invention; it’s just a full description of the print which I sign and date. I suppose it is a C of A without the pretension of the C of A designation. Every week or so I hear from collectors who’ve overpaid for a print, or bought a print that’s not really what it’s supposed to be, and they’re typically armed with an “official” C of A which is nothing more than a phony marketing device. These C of A’s are no substitute for a buyer doing some homework, or buying from a reputable dealer.

Q: With so many con artists afoot these days at every level of the food chain, what possibility do print collectors have to protect themselves from fraud? How should they go about it?
A: Of course the best way to protect themselves is to develop some knowledge about prints, and the prints they’re purchasing. I would also encourage collectors to buy from dealers who are members of the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA). These dealers have gone through a serious vetting process. The IFPDA website (www.printdealers.com) lists the members, and is also a good source of print knowledge, definitions, etc.

Q: In Internet print sales the question of establishing a seller’s honesty and inspiring a buyer’s confidence, is even trickier. You sell prints over the Web. How do you deal with these issues? What percentage of your sales are via Internet?
A: I rarely buy on the Web and would not generally recommend it. I buy prints in person, and recommend that as the best method. I do sell prints via the Web, and anything I sell I’ll purchase back within a reasonable amount of time, so I basically sell prints on approval (as will any reputable dealer). I enjoy presenting prints on eBay (I started with Sothebys.com, which morphed into eBay before it went under), and have met many experts and specialists through that route, but today such sales are less than 5% of my total. I enjoy eBay as a discipline (I show lots of pictures of each print, and create a rather full descriptive entry for each print), and in practice use it more for advertising than sales. I also have a number of print guides displayed on eBay.

Q: You place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of the catalogue raisonne in determining the authenticity of prints, and you are not alone in this respect. Most catalogues raisonnes, if I’m not mistaken, are compiled by art historians after the artists in question have died. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the artist herself, or her agent, to create the catalogue as they go along? Wouldn’t that information tend to be much more reliable? Having said that, should we encourage serious contemporary printmakers to start preparing their own catalogues raisonees?
A: I suppose you’re right that artists should keep good records, but I imagine many artists would probably see that as a distraction (I don’t like keeping records myself, and I’m no artist). Many artists have in fact kept extensive records, and these help the compilers of catalogues. For example Albrecht Durer kept an extensive diary in which he details who he gave prints to; and artists such as Camille Pissarro, Reginald Marsh, and Martin Lewis kept detailed notes about their printmaking efforts which helped cataloguers. But many artists are notorious for getting print states, dates and the number of impressions printed wrong (Pissarro and Marsh are good examples), so good cataloguers have to examine everything from scratch whether the artist has kept notes or not.

Q: Many readers of this interview will be fine-art print professionals, print studio people, master printmakers… They are ultimately the ones who advise many of today’s printmakers on questions of editions, signing, best practices and print permanence. From the point of view of a print dealer, what comments or advice would you share with them?
A: I’m no expert on contemporary printmaking, but might mention that I’ve been very impressed with the contemporary prints that have been shown at the International Fine Print Center NY (IFPCNY) New Prints shows (there have been about 25 of these exhibits over the past decade). Perhaps those not familiar with this non-profit Print Center and its programs and exhibits might be interested in looking into them. (Disclosure – I’m on the Board of the IFPCNY.)

Q: Regarding editions, would you like to give your views on this issue? For example, why the disparity in the sizes of editions between Europe and the USA?
A: I didn’t know about this difference. Let’s go on to the next question!

Q: What about editioning inkjet reproductions of paintings, so-called “signed and numbered limited-edition giclee prints?” What do you make of that phenomenon? Or do we just put it down to H.L. Mencken’s immortal remark: “Nobody ever went broke…?”
A: When it comes to buying art people often justify their irrational or even inane behaviour by saying they buy “what they like,” as if that excuses their mistakes. And in the case of prints, where there’s often another example of the print that’s earlier, or better (or just genuine), and less expensive to boot, it’s infuriating to see people blithely enriching con artists. So I guess old Mencken had a point. But education sources, such as your site, should help people make better choices, so there’s always hope.

Thank you, Harris, for your kindness in sharing your connoiseurship with us.

Contact Harris Schrank:

Phone: 212 662 1234

Judengasse in Berlin

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

 

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Lea Grundig-Langer (1906-1977), Judengasse in Berlin (Jewish Quarter in Berlin), 1934, signed and dated in pencil lower right, titled lower center, cycle name (Unterm Hakenkreuz) lower left). In excellent condition, printed on a heavy cream wove paper, the full sheet, 9 3/4 x 12 7/8 inches, the sheet 16 1/2 x 21.

Provenance: Galerie St. Etienne, New York, NY.

A fine fresh impression, printed with carefully drawn plate tone.

Lea Langer was born in Dresden in 1906 where her family was part of the Jewish community. She studied at the city’s Decorative Arts and Crafts Academy before progressing, in 1924, to the prestigious Saxon Art Academy: here she was admitted into the Masterclass of Otto Gussmann where fellow participants included Otto Griebel, Wilhelm Lachnit und Hans Grundig. At the Academy she also got to know Otto Dix, whom she would come to regard as one of the most influential of her mentors.

She remained at The Academy till 1926, when she left the Jewish Community, joined the Communist party, and shortly thereafter married Hans Grundig. Her work was banned by the Nazis, who put her in prison for a short time; she later emigrated to Palestine, then back to Europe and eventually East Germany, where she was active politically while teaching and practicing her art.

Melencolia I 1514

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Meder75_Melencolia_80038

Albrecht Dürer

1471 – Nuremberg – 1528

Melencolia I 1514

engraving; 239 x 187 mm (9 3/8 x 7 5/16 inches), with wide margins

Bartsch 74, Meder 75 state IIb (of IIf); Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum 71

Watermark: small jug (Meder 158)

A very fine impression, in excellent condition.

provenance:

library of the Magdalenenkirche, later university library, Wroc?aw (formerly Breslau) (Lugt 2371b)

C.G. Boerner, Neue Lagerliste 6, Düsseldorf 1952, no. 38

private collection, Germany

Among the dozens of interpretations of the elements of Melancholia are these insights – in his essay on Melencolia – by the eminent art historian Erwin Panofsky:

“Dürer’s Melencholia is neither a miser nor a mental case but a thinking being in perplexity, her face overcast by a deep shadow, made more impressive by the startling white of the eyes. The wreath on her head is woven of water-ranunculus and watercress, both plants of a watery nature, to counteract the bad effects of “dryness” associated wth the melancholy humor. The mature and learned Melencholia typifies Theoretical Insight which thinks but cannot act. The ignorant infant, making meaningless scrawls on his slate and almost conveying blindness, typifies Practical Skill which acts but cannot think.”

Rue, le soir, sous la pluie – Rainy Street at Evening 1895–99

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Bonnard_RueLeSoirSousLaPluie

Pierre Bonnard

1867 Fontenay-aux-Roses – Le Cannet 1947

Rue, le soir, sous la pluie – Rainy Street at Evening 1895–99

lithograph printed in five colors on thin wove paper; 255 x 350 mm (10 1/8 x 14 inches)

signed and numbered in pencil at lower right no 95

Roger-Marx 66; Bouvet 68; Johnson 10.10

provenance

Emile Laffon, Paris (Lugt 877a)

This print is from Bonnard’s album Quelques Aspects de la vie de Paris, published by Ambroise Vollard and printed by Auguste Clot in an edition of 100. Although the date given on the cover is 1895, Johnson concludes that since the whole set was not exhibited until 1899 and a sketch for one of the plates (Place, le soir, Bouvet 64) is dated 1899, the album was not completed and published until 1899.

James McNeil Whistler Prints: An Exhibit in London and New York

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Rotherhithe

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

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James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Rotherhithe, etching and drypoint, 1860 [signed and dated in the plate lower left]. Reference: Kennedy 66, third state (of 3), Glasgow 70, sixth state (of 6). Published, in the definitive state, as part of the Thames Set. In very good condition, with margins, 10 7/8 x 7 7/8, the sheet 13 x 9 7/8 inches.

A fine impression, printed in brownish/black ink on a cream laid paper with the watermark KF.

Rotherhithe is the area opposite Wapping on the banks of the Thames. The site of the image is the Angel, an inn in Bermondsey, very near Rotherhithe. Although Tower Bridge dominates the view up-river from the narrow balcony, in the distance St Paul’s Cathedral is visible beyond the bend of the river.

Rotherhithe is one of Whistler’s most iconic early images; it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1862, and then was titled Wapping in its later 1871 publication as part of the Thames Set (a series of 16 etchings). The copper plate is in the Freer Gallery of Art.

Martin Lewis: A Collection

Friday, November 27th, 2015
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Martin Lewis – Shadow Dance

We can offer a large collection of over 100 Martin Lewis  prints  and drawings, to be sold “en bloc.” The collection includes all the iconic and best known prints as well as many great rarities, a number of drawings, and a sampling of canceled plates.   Inquiries are welcome; by e mail at hschrank@nyc.rr.com, or by phone at 212 662 1234.

To view the collection please tap this link:   VIEW PDF

Riders of the Apocalypse

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

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Benton Spruance (1904-1967

Riders of the Apocalypse 1943, Lithograph.

Fine and Looney 222. Edition 35. Signed, dated, titled and annotated Ed 35 in pencil. Initialed in the stone, lower left.

Image size 12 11/16 x 16 3/8 inches (322 x 416 mm); sheet size 15 5/8 x 19 1/4 inches (397 x 489 mm).

A superb impression, on off-white wove paper, with full margins (1 1/4 to 1 5/8 inches); in excellent condition. Printed by Cuno.

Exhibited and Reproduced: The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock, Stephen Coppel, The British Museum, 2008, catalog p. 205.

Collections: British Museum; Free Library of Philadelphia; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Philadelphia Museum of Art.

 

Four Evangelists

Friday, November 13th, 2015

 

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Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550), Four Evangelists, engravings (4), 1541 [initialed, titled and numbered in the plates]. References: Bartsch 55-58, Pauli, Hollstein 57-60; 57 and 58 3rd state, 59 and 60 fifth state (of 5),  In excellent  condition, each plate trimmed along or just outside of the borderline,  1 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches.

Fine rich impressions.

 

Sebald Beham was born in Nuremberg in 1500. In 1525 he and his brother Barthold, together with Georg Pencz, were thrown out of Nuremberg following an investigation into their agnosticism, but they returned the next year. Sebald continued to get into trouble: he was expelled again for publishing an essay on the proportions of the horse which was taken from Durer’s unpublished Art of Measurement.

Note: photos of St. Mark and St. Matthew available on request.

 

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The Doorway

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

James Whistler – The Doorway

James Whistler (1834-1903), The Doorway, drypoint, etching and roulette, 1879-80, signed with the butterfly on the tab and inscribed “imp”. Reference: Kennedy 188, seventh state (of 7); Glasgow 193, twenty (of 20).  From the First Venice Set. In very good condition, trimmed by the artist around the plate mark except for the tab, printed on a simile Japon paper, 11 1/2 x 8 inches.

Provenance:

P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (their stock number in pencil on verso C. 335)

A very fine impression, printed in brown ink.

The passageway at the center of the architectural framing device is still partly open and a window allows some light to come in from behind into the darkened interior of the Pallazzo Gussoni on the Rio de la Fava. The rhythm of the windows, further accentuated by the changing of the orientation of the ironwork, makes the ornate architecture the manifest subject of this print.

This is Whistler print is most dramatically and fully conceived after a number of earlier states. The girl at the center of the composition, in the doorway, was re-worked progressively in the early states, but probably never completely resolved to the satisfaction of the artist, as suggested by his completely burnishing out the figure in Glasgow’s 17th state. He then re-drew the figure entirely, in drypoint, making her a bit smaller, with her features now rather clear and holding a thin cloth (as in the earliest states) in the water. In previous states Whistler left the area below the doorway relatively clear of etching or drypoint, allowing a space for plate tone and various wiping effects.  In this late state he drew in dense networks of overlapping drypoint lines to dramatize the shadows of the doorway and the motions of the water on the canal; this technique presages the use of drypoint in the Amsterdam plates (see, for example, Pierrot, K. 407).  The dramatic movement of the water thus contrasts with the stillness of the architecture, making this one of Whistler’s most engaging and fully realized compositions.

The Doorway – Detail

Self-Portrait in a Cap, wide-eyed and open-mouthed 1630

Friday, October 9th, 2015

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 Leiden – Amsterdam 1669

Self-Portrait in a Cap, wide-eyed and open-mouthed 1630

etching and drypoint; 51 x 45 mm (2 x 1 3?4 inches)

Bartsch 320, White/Boon only state; Hind 32; The New Hollstein 69 second (final) state

provenance
Charles Delanglade, Marseille (Lugt 660)

A very good impression of this rare and much sought-after little print; in good condition with the platemark visible all round.

This is one of Rembrandt’s early self-portraits from his Leiden years between 1628 and 1631. More specifically, it is one of a small group of etchings dating to 1630 in which he used his own image to experiment with various facial expressions that might serve as models for his work and that of his pupils. In these tiny prints, many little bigger than postage stamps, the artist’s features undergo many transformations as he explores a range of expressions. In this case, he wears a beret and his eyes, mouth, and the contours of his face are rounded in apparent wonder or surprise. Three other etchings of this date show the artist frowning (Bartsch 10); open-mouthed (Bartsch 13); and laughing (Bartsch 316). The inventiveness and variety of Rembrandt’s self-portraits (as well as his obsession with making them) far exceeded that of his Dutch contemporaries. Indeed, Clifford Ackley observes that “these quirky, personal etched self-portraits are without clear precedent in the history of self-portraiture, particularly in printmaking”.

Picador Caught By A Bull

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Picador Caught by a Bull, lithographic crayon and scraper, 1825. Harris 284, Delteil 287, from the edition of 100 [signed Goya in the plate lower left], printed by Gaulon, Bordeaux, from the set The Bulls of Bordeaux. In exceptionally fine condition, the matrix flawless, slight light stain, the full sheet (remains of prior hinging edges verso); 12 1/4 x 16 1/4, the sheet 15 1/2 x 20 1/8 inches.

A fine rich, black impression, printed on a cream wove paper.

Provenance: H.J. Thomas (Lugt 1378); estate of Albert Gordon. Lugt writes of Thomas: “Monsieur Henri Thomas ne fait pas l’uvre de tel ou tel matre, son but est que ses cartons offrent, en preuves exceptionnelles, un ensemble de ce que l’art de la gravure a produit de plus remarquable toutes les poques et dans toutes coles.

Goya was perhaps the first major artist to make use of the lithographic technique, in 1819 at the age of 73. His earliest experiments were with transfer lithography, using pen on transfer paper, but his “mature” work, after 1824, was done directly on the lithographic stone. He initially made five Bordeaux lithographic bulls, but discarded one of the lithographs after having taken a proof and, apparently, been dissatisfied with it.

In late 1825 Goya wrote to his friend Joaquin Ferrer, who was living in Paris at the time, sending an impression of the first of the Bulls (Corrida de novillos) and asking him if this and the other three bullfighting lithographs could be sold in Paris. Ferrer wrote that another edition of the Caprichos would have greater appeal. Goya responded “I understand and accept what you tell me about the prints of bulls but I rather had in mind that they should be seen by art connoisseurs who abound in that great court [Paris} and the great number of people who have seen them, not counting Spaniards, thought it would be easy [to sell them].” So Goya’s Bulls of Bordeaux did not appeal to the French taste of the period.

Goya wrote Ferrer that “I’ve no more sight, no hand, nor pen nor inkwell, I lack everything – all I’ve got left is will.” But with the creation of the Bulls of Bordeaux, Goya had produced one of the great monuments of printmaking.

Detail

The Artist’s Mother: Head Only, Full Face 1628

Friday, September 18th, 2015

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

1606 Leiden – Amsterdam 1669

The Artist’s Mother: Head Only, Full Face 1628

etching; 63 x 66 mm (2 1/2 x 2 5/8 inches)

Bartsch 352, White/Boon second (final) state; Hind 2; The New Hollstein 6 second (final) state

This rare little plate is one of the earliest to be generally accepted as the work of Rembrandt. It is still experimental; the artist has not managed to get the tonal balance in the biting of the two states correct. The face, which was etched first and was never bitten deeply, is considerably paler than the hood, which was added later.

Further, the unusual composition makes the print look almost like a fragment; the head of the woman is oddly anchored slightly to the lower right of the image and points to Rembrandt’s early tendency to begin drawing with his etching needle without having a clear idea of the size or position of the intended image. In this case, although the first state (of which a unique impression survives in Amsterdam) shows that the artist used black chalk to develop a version that would have included part of the figure’s upper body, in the end, the artist cut away more than an inch of the plate just below her chin, reinforcing the idiosyncrasy of the portrait. Another print that Rembrandt made of his mother in etching and drypoint the same year (Bartsch 354) and in etching and engraving in ca. 1631 (Bartsch 343) demonstrate his rapid progress in a range of printmaking techniques.

Rembrandt’s mother provided a readily available female counterpoint to his own self-portraits. But his choice of her as subject matter also reflects a growing market at this time for images of old people, their time-worn faces providing a contrast to the long-established taste for comely young women. This aesthetic interest might also relate to the contemporary “picturesque” taste for such dilapidated old structures as ruins and humble farmhouses as well as peasants and beggars. The popularity of these motifs, frequently addressed by Rembrandt himself, might be explained in some cases by their familiarity, as well as by their freedom from complex or morally burdensome religious, historical, or literary themes.

Jacob’s Ladder, an illustration to Piedra gloriosa 1655

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

 

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

1606 Leiden – Amsterdam 1669

Jacob’s Ladder, an illustration to Piedra gloriosa 1655etching and engraving with drypoint; 115 x 70 mm (4 1/2 x 2 13/16 inches)

Bartsch 36B, White/Boon third (final) state; Hind 284; The New Hollstein 288b third state (of four)

provenance

Heneage Finch, 5th Earl of Aylesford, London and Packington Hall, Warwickshire (Lugt 58)

John Heywood Hawkings, London and Bignor Park, Sussex (Lugt 3022)

Walter Francis, 5th Duke of Buccleuch, London and Dalkeith, Scotland (Lugt 402)

Kennedy Galleries, New York (their stock no. in pencil on verso a12846)

John William Bender, Kansas City (Lugt 1555b)

A very fine, rich impression with deep burr, with the lower sides of the stepladder burnished in, and the whole dense lower area printed effectively with the utmost care; before the plate was reworked in drypoint.

Jacob’s Dream is one of four etchings that Rembrandt composed on one plate, intended to be cut into four for use by the publisher as illustrations to a book by his friend, the rabbi, scholar, publisher, and diplomat Menasseh ben Israel (1604–1657). (The other images show The Statue of Nebuchadnezzar Overthrown; David and Goliath [B.36C]; and Daniel’s Vision [Bartsch 36A, C, and D respectively].) This work, written in Spanish and titled Piedra gloriosa de la estatua de Nebuchadnesar, was published in Amsterdam in 1655. It is a mystical tract in which a series of episodes from the Book of Daniel are seen to presage the coming of the Messiah. It also incorporates appeals for greater tolerance of the Jewish population. As Jan Piet Filedt Kok put it: “The Jews of the 17th century were obsessed with the coming of the Messiah, which they looked forward to in the expectation that it would put an end to the misery and suffering of the Jewish people. In a time of persecutions in Portugal, Spain and Poland this was not to be wondered at”.

Jacob’s Dream shows the sleeping patriarch, his head resting on a stone, as he dreams of a ladder upon which angels ascend and descend to and from heaven. It was the only one of the four subjects in the illustrations that Rembrandt had treated previously.  Menasseh understood the work to be an allegory of the fall of the enemies of Israel, writing in the text that “you will see how three angels descend a staircase … and another who is at the top and ascending, representing the fall of the three preceding monarchies and the escalation in which we experience the last” (quoted in Michael Zell, Reframing Rembrandt: Jews and the Christian image in Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam, Berkeley/Los Angeles/London 2002, p. 74).

The book with Rembrandt’s etchings survives in only five known copies. Other editions exist but these contain often crude engravings after Rembrandt’s original designs, sometimes with significant adjustments to the images. Current scholarship suggests that these are the work of the Jewish artist Salom Italia, who had made an engraved portrait of Menasseh in 1642. Rembrandt’s choice of etching and drypoint for book illustration, although reinforced by engraving, was somewhat unusual since they tend to deteriorate much more rapidly than engraving or woodcut, both of which are thus better suited to producing enough impressions for a book edition. It seems most likely, therefore, that Rembrandt’s etchings were replaced for practical reasons. In the first instance, however, Menasseh did entrust this politically and religiously complex project to Rembrandt, who was neither Jewish nor a professional illustrator. Furthermore, Rembrandt’s illustration of the text “reflects an exceptional degree of cooperation. The alterations Rembrandt agreed to make, even if they involved compromising his aesthetic convictions, attest to an uncharacteristic willingness to revise his work to accommodate Menasseh’s directions … Menasseh, moreover, always under financial pressures, which were particularly acute during this period, could hardly have afforded to pay the fee Rembrandt could command” (ibid., pp. 84f.).

Given that a number of surviving individual impressions, like this one, exist outside the book, and that Rembrandt experimented with some of them on a range of different supports, including vellum and Japanese gampi paper, it seems clear that he used this commission to create highly idiosyncratic prints that could stand on their own. All of these prints, with their rich plate tone and selective wiping, are not accidental trial proofs but were clearly pulled by Rembrandt to satisfy the requirements of a highly sophisticated group of collectors. This is ultimately the reason for their survival, even though they count among the rarest and most sought-after of the master’s prints.

Le Pont au Change

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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Charles Meryon (1821-1868), Le Pont au Change, 1854, etching. Reference: Delteil/Wright 34 fifth state (of twelve), Schneiderman  40, fifth state (of 12) [with the signature, date and address in the plate in the margin below]. On old very fine and thin laid paper with a “Contribution Directes” watermark. In very good condition, with margins 6 1/8 x 13 1/8, the sheet 7 1/8 x 13 3/4 inches.

Provenance: J.H. Wrenn (with his stamp verso, Lugt 1475), and then by descent.

P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (their stock no. in pencil on the verso C27108)

Kennedy Galleries, New York (their stock no. in pencil on the verso a35112)

A extremely fine, richly printed atmospheric impression, in a brownish/black ink, printed personally by the artist, with a veil of plate tone, wiped selectively in places such as the wall and faces of the buildings at the right.

From a point of view at water level we can see the Pompe de Notre Dame (the old water pump) beyond the bridge, and the Palais de Justice and Tour de Horloge on the Isle de la Cite at the right. In the water a man, presumably drowning, reaches toward a boat, but those in the boat are turned in the other direction, looking toward the balloon marked Speranza (hope) in the sky. On the bridge a hearse and a parade of mourners walk toward the left, as a group of soldiers at the far left marches toward them.

Meryon made a few changes in the figures and clouds in the next state (the 6th), and removed the balloon in the seventh state; then, in 1859-60 he famously added a flock of huge birds to the sky – this was variously interpreted as the result of the influence of Poe (The Raven), or as evidence of Meryon’s continuing mental instability after his stay at the institution Clarenton; and of course there were other possibilities. Indeed, the meanings of the print in this earlier state – the ironies of the conjunction of the balloon Speranza, the drowning man and those turning away from him, and the funereal procession, for example – have been the subject of much speculation as well.

It is however indisputable that Le Pont au Change, particularly in this early state,  is one of the most dramatic and beautiful of Meryon’s compositions, and a great icon of mid-19th Century printmaking.

Costume Ball & Carnival of the Artists & Writers Dinner Club

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

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John Sloan (1871-1951)

Costume Ball & Carnival of the Artists & Writers Dinner Club 1933, Linocut.

Morse 277. No edition, printing unknown but assumed very small. Signed in pencil lower right, beneath the wolf’s hand-like paw.

Image size 19 x 12 inches (483 x 305 mm); sheet size 19 x 12 1/2 inches (483 x 318 mm).

A fine impression, in dark brown ink, on the full sheet of heavy, cream wove paper. A reinforced crease in the top left corner; a minor nick in the bottom center sheet edge and a small loss in the bottom right sheet corner; slight yellowing to the sheet edges left and right, not affecting the image. otherwise in very good condition. The image printed to the sheet edges top and bottom, with small margins left and right; the sheet size (19 x 12 1/2 inches) is consistent with impressions in the collections of Library of Congress and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Very scarce; we find no record of this print appearing on the art market. 

The poster copy reads: “Costume Ball & Carnival of the Artists and Writers Dinner Club . Webster Hall . 119 E 11th St. Friday Eve. Dec. 15. Heywood Broun . Master of Ceremonies . Stage Stars . Nat Mattlin & Orchestra . Tickets $1.00 now $1.50 at the door . For Sale . Breevort and Algonquin Hotels.

Sloan’s poster advertises a decadent costume ball sponsored by the Artists & Writers Dinner Club, a group that provided regular dinners to needy people in the arts during the Depression. Since its founding in 1886, Webster Hall on the Lower East Side had become an established venue for social events, meetings, lectures, and dances, but soon became best known as a meeting place for left-wing political activist groups of all kinds. By the 1930s, it was nominated “the Devils’ Playhouse,” notorious for decadent parties and carnivals arranged by progressive groups like the editors of The Masses and the Liberal Club. Parties were inspired by the costume balls of Paris and given names like “Pagan Romps” and “Art Model Frolicks;” by then it had also become one of the places that homosexuals could openly hold their own celebrations and events. The burlesque figure dominating the image, with bared breasts, bloomers, and stockings merely hints at the decadence and debauchery that awaits the ball’s attendees.

Webster Hall has in fact continued its storied history to the present day as a venue for numerous recordings, concerts, and events. In 2008 the building was officially designated a New York City landmark, recognized for its significant role in the cultural development of New York City’s Greenwich Village.

 

 

 

Approaching Storm

Friday, July 31st, 2015

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Grant Wood (1891-1942),  Approaching Storm 1940, Lithograph.

Cole 16. Edition 250. Signed in pencil.

Image size 8 7/8 x 11 7/8 inches (225 x 302 mm); sheet size 10 3/4 x 14 1/4 inches (273 x 362 mm).

A superb, well-inked impression, on off-white wove paper, with margins (7/8 to 1 1/4 inches), in excellent condition.

The artist’s last print, published by Associated American Artists, 1940.

Reproduced: American Master Prints from the Betty and Douglas Duffy Collection, The Trust for Museum Exhibitions, Washington, D.C., 1987.

Collections: Albrecht-Kempler Museum of Art, Akron Art Museum, Art Complex Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Des Moines Art Center, Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Metropolitan Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, New Britian Museum of American Art, Phoenix Art Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Saint Louis Art Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, Springfield Museum of Art, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, University of Iowa Museum of Art Digital Collection, Whitney Museum of American Art.

 

Sudarium Held by Two Angels

Friday, July 24th, 2015

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Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), Sudarium Held by Two Angels, engraving, 1513 [with the monogram and date on a tablet]. References: Bartsch 25, Meder 26, Strauss 69. In very good condition, trimmed on the platemark all around (a fold(s) visible verso, some slight thin spots verso). On a laid paper without visible watermark (Meder indicates no watermark on Meder a-c impressions). 4 x 5 l1/2 inches.

Provenance:

NATIONALMUSEUM , Cabinet des Estampes, Stockholm (with their “doublett” stamp verso, Lugt 1935). The Nationalmuseum (Stockholm) had a substantial collection of Durer prints; duplicate examples were sold in auctions in Stockholm in 1903 and 1904.

A very good Meder b/c impression, with the scratch in the drapery at the left still visible; but before the scratch from the elbow to the drapery at the right.

ON RESERVE

J.H. Woods’ Fruit Shop, Chelsea, first state

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

 

 

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James Whistler (1834-1903), J.H. Woods’ Fruit Shop, Chelsea, etching and drypoint, 1887-88. Signed with the butterfly on the tab and annotated “imp,” also titled by the artist in pencil verso.  References: Kennedy 265 first state (of 2), Glasgow 327 first state (of 4).  Trimmed by the artist around the plate mark except for the tab, in excellent condition. Printed in dark brown ink on laid paper, 3 3/4 x 5 1/8 inches.

A fine impression of this great rarity; the print was never published: Glasgow accounts for only a few impressions, and none of the first state (known only through an illustration in Kennedy).

Provenance:

J. H. WRENN (1841-1911), agent de change, Chicago. Estampes. (his stamp, on each of the two hinges verso, Lugt 1475. 

This is before the second state in which short fine drypoint lines are added on the lower part of the window-panes at left along with more shading around the woman in the centre. In the third state much new etched shading is added around the woman in the centre. In Glasgow’s fourth state the shading and the figure were removed; no impression is known of this state, but the state is inferred from the cancelled plate.

According to Glasgow “Joseph Henry Wood had a greengrocer’s shop at 1 Park Walk (off the Fulham Road), Chelsea, London in 1887. By 1888 he was at 391 Fulham Road.”  This is one of a number of Chelsea shop fronts etched by Whistler. 

 

Lobster Pots – Selsea Bill

Friday, July 17th, 2015

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James Whistler (1834-1903), Lobster Pots - Selsea Bill, etching and drypoint, 1880-1, signed with the butterfly on the tab and inscribed “imp.” [also signed with the butterfly in the plate, and titled Selsea Bill, lower right].  Reference: Kennedy 235, Glasgow 241, fourth state (of 4). From the Twenty-Six Etchings (the Second Venice Set). In excellent condition, printed on a laid paper with a partial Strasbourg Lily watermark. 4 3/4 x 8 inches.

Provenance:

Bernard Buchanan MacGeorge (his stamp verso, Lugt 394

Henry Harper Benedict (his stamp verso, Lugt 1298)

Charles C. Cunningham (his stamp verso, Lugt 4684)

A very fine impression, printed in a brown ink with plate tone over all; wiped selectively so that the foreground is a shade darker.

The plate was first exhibited at The Fine Art Society in London in 1883. In 1886 it was published as part of A Set of Twenty-Six Etchings, the so-called “Second Venice Set,” by Messrs. Dowdeswell and Thibaudeau.

The etched inscription at lower right locates the scene in Selsea Bill, a small town on the south coast of England where Whistler was visiting Charles Augustus Howell. There is a wistfulness in this slight composition, suggesting that the print was made right after Whistler’s return from his first trip to Venice. However, as Robert Getscher aptly remarks, “even the Venetian subjects are never this inconsequential”. To our modern eyes, however, this makes the print all the more intriguing. Lobster-Pots is one of Whistler’s freest linear exercises: clusters of parallel stripes countered by aureoles of radiant hatching. Walter Sickert would soon afterwards move similarly close to pure abstraction in some of his beach-related etchings like Scheveningen, Bathing Machines of 1887 (Bromberg 95) and, especially, the small Scheveningen, Wind-Chairs and Shadows of the same year (Bromberg 91).

 

The Dance in the Inn

Monday, July 13th, 2015

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Adriaen Van Ostade (1610-1685), The Dance in the Inn, etching, c. 1652-54). Reference: Hollstein 49, Godefroy 49, sixth state (of 9). In very good condition (possible strengthening or repair upper edge, slight rippling or handing folds), with small margins, larger at bottom, 25.7 x 32.2 cm.

Provenance:

A. J. Lamme (1812-1900), Rotterdam (Lugt 138, stamp verso). Lamme was a painter, who founded the Musee Boymans in 1849 and stayed as founding director to 1870. The sale of his collection was held in Amsterdam in 1901; the collection was described by Lugt as “beaucoup d’estampes de l’ecole hollandaise..”

Watermark: Foolscap with seven pointed collar; Godefry’s watermark number 22. Godefry notes “toutes les epreuves sur lesquelles il figure sont de qualite honorable and imprimee avec soin” (all the proofs with this mark are fine and printed with care); he dates the mark as used in the period 1680-85, the latter part of Van Ostade’s life.

A fine, lifetime impression, noted by Godefry as rare in this state.

The eminent Ostade collector and scholar S. William Pelletier (who owned one fine impression of the Dance, also a sixth state), noted that this “print, the largest executed by Ostade and in many ways the most carefully executed of his entire graphic production, led Rouir to call it the artist’s “Hundred Guilder Piece”, a reference to Rembrandt’s most famous etching” (which was completed a few years earlier).  The Dance is Ostade’s most complex print, and therefore has led scholars to various interpretations of the activities. For example Slatkes believed this print to be a wedding celebration. Stone-Ferrier suggested the leafy tree and branch on the floor are signs of an indoor May Day festival celebrating the transition from winter to spring. Whatever the interpretation, the composition is extraordinary.

This print is sold.

Nu couché

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

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Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Nu Couché  1929, etching in black on grey/tan Chine-collé on heavy cream wove with deckle edges all around, signed and numbered (17/25) in pencil lower right. Reference:  Duthuit 194, only state, from the edition of 25. In very good condition, the full sheet (slight soiling toward edges, remains of prior hinging verso), 5 x 6, the sheet 11 1/8 x 14 5/8 inches.

Provenance:

Christie’s London, July 3, 2001. (Old Master, Modern, and Contemporary Prints)

A fine warm impression of this small-editioned print, not seen on the print auction market since 2001.

In his small edition etchings and drypoints Matisse displayed a mastery of draftsmanship unmatched in modernist printmaking. Nu Couché  is a splendid example of Matisse’s genius.

Pierrot

Monday, June 1st, 2015

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James Whistler (1834-1903), Pierrot,  1889, etching, printed in brown on fine laid paper; trimmed to the platemark by the artist, signed with the butterfly and inscribed imp on the tab, also signed with the butterfly and inscribed verso [also with the butterfly in the plate, upper left]; Kennedy 407, fourth state (of five); Glasgow 450, sixth state (of eight) (cf. Margaret F. MacDonald, Grischka Petri, Meg Hausberg, and Joanna Meacock, James McNeill Whistler: The Etchings, a catalogue raisonné, University of Glasgow, 2011); Lochnan 408, 9 x 6 1/4 inches. Pierrot was never published, although it was clearly intended to be part of a (never published) Amsterdam Set. In very good condition.

Provenance:

James L. Claghorn (with [faint] stamp verso, Lugt 555c)

Also signed on the verso in pencil with the butterfly and inscribed “selected for [unclear but probably “Wunderlich”; several impressions were sent to Wunderlich, Whistler’s US dealer]

Also with initials RGO (?) in pencil, lower left verso (not identified in Lugt)

A very fine, evenly balanced impression, printing with subtle plate tone.  Printed in a brownish/black ink on an ivory laid paper.

This state is before the small patches of shading were added below the windows to the left of the main doorway. 

Apparently Whistler regarded Pierrot as his favorite among the Amsterdam plates. In a letter to Whistler Howard Mansfield, the famed collector, wrote:  “The impression you showed me of “Pierrot” is so fine…that I feel that I must have it. The fact that it is your favorite among the Amsterdam plates makes me wish to possess it in its greatest beauty.”

The scene shows dyers on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam.  Although titled Pierrot or The Pierrot, and this character from the 17th Century Italian Commedia Dell’arte was experiencing a revival of interest in the late 1800’s, there is nothing apparent in the composition to suggest the fictional character; the figures depicted are workers, the main one simply a young boy wearing an apron, the other a woman rinsing a cloth in the canal.

As in the other Amsterdam views, the dark, tonal areas are no longer created purely by selective wiping – although there is much such wiping evident in the print – but by the extraordinarily dense networks of overlapping lines.

 

St. James Place, Houndsditch

Friday, May 29th, 2015

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James Whistler (1834-1903), St. James Place, Houndsditch, 1887, etching and drypoint, signed with the butterfly on the tab and inscribed “imp”. [also with the butterfly in the plate, upper center] In very good condition, trimmed on the platemark except for the tab by the artist. References: Kennedy 290 (only state); Glasgow 255, second state (of 2). 82 x 178 mm, 3 3/16 x 6 7/8 inches.

Provenance:

R.M. Light and Co., Santa Barbara, California

Dr. H. Malcolm Hardy, Shawnee Mission, Kansas (not in Lugt)

A fine impression of this great rarity, with two tiny penciled circles verso (indicating that Whistler thought a this was a particularly distinctive impression).

Of greatest rarity. Margaret MacDonald’s Glasgow catalogue accounts for merely eight known impressions, all of them in museum collections (to which our impression has to be added). The print is first recorded as sold by the artist in November 1887. The same year, it was exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists during Whistler’s brief presidency. As Glasgow notes, Whistler “must have thought highly of it, and sent it to an international exhibition in Brussels in the following year.” The print was nevertheless never properly published since a “Houndsditch Set” that was planned by the artist remained unfinished. This ultimately accounts for the print’s rarity.

During 1887–88, Whistler worked on a series of etchings of the East End of London. This is one of several prints in which he depicts some of the many small businesses then operating in Houndsditch, one of the Jewish quarters. His image of a busy street scene with modest shops, including that of M. and E. Levy (a fruit shop run by the brothers Moss and Eleazor Levy), was made at a significant moment in London’s Jewish history. From 1881–84 a new influx of Eastern European Jews had arrived in the city in the wake of a wave of pogroms after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II (for which they had been scapegoated). The new immigrants, typically desperately poor, settled in the East End in areas like Houndsditch, Whitechapel, and Spitalfields where there were already existing Jewish populations, and began to work in tailoring, cabinetmaking, shoemaking, and other crafts and trades. Around the corner from St. James’s Place was the grand synagogue in Duke’s Place, built in 1692, which had long been the principal place of worship for the city’s well-to-do Ashkenazi Jews by the time Whistler made this print. (It was destroyed in a German air raid in 1942).

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Night in the Park

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

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Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Night in the Park, etching, drypoint, burnishing, 1921, signed in pencil lower right and titled and priced ($30.) in pencil by the artist lower left corner recto. References: Zigrosser 20, Levin (plate 80), only state. In good condition, slight mat toning well outside of the plate mark. 6 3/4 x 8 1/4, the sheet 11 1/2 x 15 inches.

Provenance: Whitney Studio Galleries, 10 West 8th Street, New York (with their label; later becoming the Whitney Museum)

Hirschl and Adler, New York (with label)

A fine black rich impression, with plate tone carefully wiped on the sidewalk and in front of the man, and on the lamp at the top; and with a fine layer of plate tone left in the night sky.

Generally described only as an etching, Night in the Park has a substantial amount of drypoint work as well, particularly evident in the pathway, the sky, and throughout the foliage. And too, there is much evidence of burnishing, again evident in the pathway.  Some of Hopper’s most complex prints are known to have been created through a series of successive states or progress proofs; Night in the Park, although among his most complex prints, is known in only one state.

Hopper’s debt to Rembrandt, particularly the scenic etchings and drypoints such as his Three Trees, is obvious in Night in the Park.

Note: on reserve

 

American Nocturne

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015


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Martin Lewis

1881 Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia – New York 1962

American Nocturne 1937

lithograph on wove paper; 250 x 365 mm (9 7/8 x 14 3/8 inches)

signed by the artist in pencil at lower right

McCarron 125 only state

provenance

Armin Landeck (artist and friend of Lewis)

Paul McCarron, New York

A fine impression of this great rarity, printed on a cream-colored wove paper; in very good condition with full margins.

McCarron notes that there were 17 recorded impressions of American Nocturne. In his label for this print (appended to the mat) McCarron notes that according to Lewis’s notebook only 8–14 impressions were made.

Lewis was born in Australia but immigrated to the United States in 1900, where he took on work as a commercial illustrator in New York. In 1915, he began to make etchings (and indeed, trained Edward Hopper in the technique). After a period in Japan between 1920 and 1921, Lewis returned to New York and began to produce drypoints inspired by Japanese ukiyo-e prints. From 1928 he began to make drypoints of New York City at different times of day and under different weather conditions. Kennedy Galleries offered him a solo show in 1929 and went on to publish 17 new prints by the artist over the next two years, a successful run that was only ended by the Depression; in 1932 Lewis retreated to Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

American Nocturne was made a year after Lewis’s return to New York but nonetheless suggests a kind of nostalgia for the small-town life he had left behind. There is ultimately nothing really charming about the image, however. Indeed, the shadowy black-and-white scene, with its row of identical rooftops and the man leaning into the window of the luxurious car suggesting a slightly sinister narrative, evokes the highly stylized effects of the American film noirs of this period.

Sketch After Cecil Lawson’s “Swan and Iris”

Monday, May 11th, 2015

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James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Sketch After Cecil Lawson’s “Swan and Iris,” etching and drypoint, 1882. Reference: Glasgow 247, Kennedy 241. Glasgow’s 5th state (of 6). In very good condition, with the sewing holes at the right, printed on an antique laid paper with a Strasbourg Lily watermark. 5 1/4 x 3 1/4, the sheet 7 x 4 1/2 inches.

A very fine impression of this relatively rarely encountered sketch, printed in a grey/black ink with substantial burr from the drypoint work, and with a layering of plate tone.

Cecil Lawson (1851-1882) was a painter, the husband of an elder sister of Whistler’s eventual wife Beatrice. The etching is after an unfinished Lawson painting; it was used in the memoir of Lawson published by the Fine Art Society, in 1883.

This is fifth state (of 6), before the several diagonal lines and one short, almost horizontal line are added to the lower edge of the dark shading on the left side of the arch, and extend into the bevel on that edge. This impression is particularly fine insofar as the upper left arch, and the sails of the boats at the top, are darkened with a fine layer of plate tone, accentuating the burr of the drypoint.

This is not signed in the plate, although the iris itself is reminiscent of a variation of Whistler’s butterfly.

 

Snow on the “El”

Friday, November 28th, 2014

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Martin Lewis ((1881-1962)

Snow on the “El”- – 1931, Drypoint and Sand Ground

McCarron 95. Edition 49 (including 5 trial proofs). Signed in pencil. Signed in the plate, lower left.

Image size 14 x 9 inches (356 x 229 mm); sheet size 17 11/16 x 12 9/16 inches (449 x 319 mm).

An exceptionally fine, richly inked impression, with velvety burr throughout, on cream laid paper, with full margins (1 3/4 to 2 inches), in excellent condition.

The location depicted is Twenty-third Street and Sixth Avenue, New York City. By the mid-20th century, a coalition of commercial establishments and building owners along Sixth Avenue campaigned to have the El removed. The El was closed on December 4, 1938 and came down in stages, beginning in Greenwich Village in 1938–39; the 6th Avenue Subway replaced it a couple of years later.

Collections: Addison Gallery of American Art, British Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Colby College Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art (Cornell University).

 

The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

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Albrecht Dürer

1471 – Nuremberg – 1528

The Four Horsemen ca. 1497–98

plate 5 from The Apocalypse

woodcut on laid paper; 395 x 279 mm (15 1/2 x 11 inches)

Bartsch 64; Meder 167 Latin edition of 1511; Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum 115

provenance

Paul Davidsohn, Berlin (Lugt 654, his stamp verso)

his sale, C.G. Boerner, Leipzig, sale 129, May 3–8, 1920, lot 1533.

A very good and evenly printing impression; in very good condition showing the borderline all round.

Illustrating the Revelation of St. John the Evangelist, chapter 6 verses 1–8, this composition counts among Dürer’s most famous images. As an icon of German Renaissance art it ranks at the same level as Dürer’s engravings of Adam and Eve and his three Meisterstiche of 1513–14.

Paul Davidsohn, born in Danzig in 1839, moved to Scotland in 1858 and then to London in 1862 where he was a merchant for 20 years, later moving to Berlin. Renowned for his Old Master print collection and connoisseurship, in his later years he also gained fame as a financier of the Silent Film era; e.g., he financed the early films of Hans Lubitsch. The sale of his collection at CG Boerner (which in that period held auctions) was the first great print sale after WWI.

Christ Preaching (“La Petite Tombe”) ca. 1657, on Laid Paper

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

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Rembrandt, Harmenz Van Rijn (1606-1669), Christ Preaching (La Petite Tombe), etching, burin and drypoint, c. 1657. References: Bartsch, Hollstein 67, Hind 256, only state; Nowell Usticke’s first state (early) of three, New Hollstein 298, first state (of 2).  In excellent condition, with small margins all around, printed on a thin laid paper, 6 1/8 x 8 1/8 inches.

A fine balanced “black sleeve” impression, with strong burr on the drypoint, especially on the sleeve and garment of the man at the left, the garment of Christ, the arch, the wall and column upper right, beard of the man upper left, etc.

Provenance: Gerd Rosen, Berlin, sale 23 (1954), lot 1986

Dr. Otto Schäfer, Schweinfurt (with his stamp verso, not in Lugt)  his sale, Sotheby’s New York, May 13, 1993, lot 21

Exhibits (and Publications):

Radierungen von Rembrandt in Ingelheim am Rhein, exhibition Ingelheim 1964, cat. no. 13

Kunst und Können. Drei Graphische Techniken und ihre Meister aus der Sammlung Otto Schäfer, exhibition Martin von Wagner Museum der Universität Würzburg / Städtische Sammlungen Schweinfurt, 1985-86, p. 240, cat. no. R-25, p. 241 ill.

In this print Rembrandt revisits the theme of his magnum opus, the so-called Hundred Guilder Print of ca. 1648 (Bartsch 74). This smaller, condensed version is one of the artist’s most balanced compositions. It has a classical serenity that has led scholars to point to the influence of Raphael’s Vatican fresco of Parnassus. Martin Royalton-Kisch notes that in 1652 Rembrandt sketched a version of Raphael’s work, well-known at the time through reproductive prints, in the album amicorum of his friend Jan Six. After establishing the overall scheme with a straightforward combination of horizontal and vertical elements, the artist enriched the details and atmospheric effects by going over the etched plate with a drypoint needle, thereby creating a lively “dialogue between clean etched lines and velvety drypoint lines fringed with rich burr” (Clifford Ackley, see reference below).

The Petite Tombe has traditionally been dated to ca. 1652. Based on his watermark research Erik Hinterding now proposes an execution date of ca. 1657 (cf. The New Hollstein: Rembrandt. Text, vol. 2, p. 270). Its somewhat confusing title was introduced by Gersaint in 1751 and later mis- understood as making reference to the “little tomb” on which Christ supposedly stands. In fact, this title refers back to Clement de Jonghe’s inventory where it is listed as “Latombisch plaatjen” (La Tombe’s little plate), a reference to Nicholas La Tombe who might have commissioned the work. Members of the La Tombe family are noted in documents relating to Rembrandt dating to between 1650 and 1658.

The early impressions of La Petite Tombe are sometimes referred to as “black sleeve” impressions because of the burr on the sleeve of the man standing left front, which creates a black effect; in later impressions this area whitens. In such impressions there is also burr on the beard of the man in the top left corner, and on Christ’s garments.

Rembrandt printed impressions of La Petite Tombe on both European papers (as in our example) and Japan papers. The latter, which tend to be less absorbent, produce washlike patches of tone where the drypoint burr would otherwise be absorbed by the paper, and the resulting look is painterly, soft and fluid. The European paper impressions have a clearly defined, structural, architectural look.  This impression is particularly well balanced, adding to the sense of calm reflectiveness among the listeners (as well as the child playing in the foreground).

literature:
Erik Hinterding, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch (eds.), Rembrandt the Printmaker, exhibition catalogue, Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam/British Museum, London, 2000–01, no. 68 Clifford S. Ackley et al. (eds.), Rembrandt’s Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Art Institute of Chicago, 2003–04, nos. 136f.

Christ at Emmaus: the larger plate 1654

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

B87_ChristatEmmaus

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 Leiden – Amsterdam 1669

Christ at Emmaus: the larger plate 1654 etching and drypoint; 213 x 161 mm (8 3?8 x 6 5/16 inches)

Bartsch 87, White/Boon second state (of three); Hind 282; New Hollstein 283 second state (of five)

provenance
August Artaria, Vienna (Lugt 33);
his sale, Artaria & Co., Vienna, May 6–13, 1896, lot 534, described as: superbe e?preuve avec beaucoup de barbes. Rare.
Julius Rosenberg, Copenhagen (Lugt 1519 and 1520);
his sale, C.G. Boerner, Leipzig, May 1–2, 1901, lot 178, described as: prachtvoller Abdruck des zweiten Zustandes, mit starkem Grat … Aus Sammlung Artaria.
Dr. Julius Elischer von Thurzo?ba?nya, Budapest (Lugt 824)
P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (their stock no. in pencil on the verso C. 12793)
Percival Duxbury (1872–1945), Bredbury, Cheshire (acquired from the above in 1936)
Lilian Honor Lewis (by descent; d. 2013)

In this “larger plate” Rembrandt revisits a subject he first etched in 1634. The lively scene in the earlier print (Bartsch 88) looks like a vignette from everyday life while 20 years later the image is imbued with a monumental solemnity. Artists traditionally depict this scene showing Christ at the moment when he is breaking the bread. Rembrandt chooses the next instant, when the true identity of the traveler is revealed to the two disciples who had encountered him on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–31). The translucency of the lightly etched composition fits the spiritual content at the core of the biblical story, emphasizing the ethereal figure of Christ shortly before he “vanished out of their sight.”

Christ at Emmaus belongs to a group of four vertical plates depicting scenes from the Life of Christ that are often understood as parts of a projected Passion series; the other three are The Presentation in the Temple: in the Dark Manner (Bartsch 50); The Descent from the Cross by Torch- light (Bartsch 83); and The Entombment (Bartsch 86). Christ at Emmaus and The Descent from the Cross are the only ones dated in the plate, both 1654. The solemn Presentation and the somber Descent from the Cross are both densely wrought dark compositions; the Entombment makes the transition between light and dark from the first to the second state whereas the present plate remains “lightly etched,” with only minimal, albeit effective, drypoint work added in the second state (New Hollstein’s states three through five no longer originate with Rembrandt). It is worth speculating that a fifth plate, Christ Appearing to the Apostles (Bartsch 89), this one a horizontal composition but with precisely the same measurements, dated 1656, and also known only as a “lightly etched” print, might also have been part of such a late Passion cycle.

In the purely etched first state, the head and halo of Christ appear as if they have not actually been finished—even if the survival of at least 25 impressions, according to New Hollstein, proves that Rembrandt did pull a small edition. In this, the second state, he added a lot of work, all of it in drypoint. There are more rays in the halo, and, most importantly, the face of Christ has now been completed. However, the burr on the drypoint strokes wore away quickly. The patches of burr showing in our impression along the slanted lines of the curtain and on the hat of the man on the right most effectively indicate that this is a very early pull—representing the artist’s full realization of this mature composition.

Brooklyn Bridge and Lower New York

Monday, October 13th, 2014

 

Marin–BBLowerNYBig

John Marin (1870-1953), Brooklyn Bridge and Lower New York, etching and drypoint, 1913, signed in pencil bottom right and inscribed in pencil by the artist “Printed by John Marin/sent out by 291”  lower left margin. Reference: Zigrosser 106, second state (of two). Published by Alfred Steiglitz, 291 Fifth Avenue, New York. The full sheet, in very good condition, 6 7/8 x 8 7/8, the sheet 14 3/16 x 15 5/8 inches.

A very fine impression of this great rarity, printed with a veil of plate tone carefully wiped to lighten the center of the composition.

The composition was completed in the first state, known in only a few impressions; in the second state Marin added drypoint accents to the structures below the bridge, the boats in the river, the sky, and to the bridge as well.

Provenance:

Agnes and Eugene Meyer, Mount Kisco, NY; and then by descent to the family

Zigrosser called for an edition of 25 prints on Whatman paper plus a large edition after steel-facing on Van Gelder for the New Republic set in 1924. But he was mistaken in identifying this print as used in the New Republic set; Brooklyn Bridge Swaying No. 6 (Z 112) was initially used for that set but substituted after a few impressions by Downtown the El (Z 134). It is also not clear that the edition of 25 is accurate, for Zigrosser knew of only about a half dozen impressions, in major museums, and the print is virtually never seen on the market.

Brooklyn Bridge and Lower New York is among the earliest, if not the earliest, of the cubist-influenced prints Marin made after working for several years in a Whistlerian/realist idiom. When shown at Steiglitz’s 291 Gallery in 1913 Marin wrote some notes of explanation, including this statement: “I see great forces at work; great movements….In life all things come under the magnetic influence of other things; the bigger assert themselves strongly, the smaller ones not so much, but still they assert themselves, and though hidden they strive to be seen and in so doing change their bent and direction….While these powers are at work pushing, pulling, sideways, downwards, upwards, I can hear the sound of their strife and there is great music being played….And so I try to express graphically what a great city is doing.”

Marin’s modernist prints, done in the same year as the 1913 Armory Show, represent a new direction in American art.

Marin–BBLowerNYfullBigf

 

LINDA MAESTRA (Pretty Teacher)

Friday, October 10th, 2014

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FRANCISCO JOSE de GOYA y LUCIENTES (1746 – 1828)

LINDA MAESTRA (Pretty Teacher) 1799 Delteil 105; Harris 103)

Etching, burnished aquatint and drypoint, Plate 68 from the first edition of “Los Caprichos”. In good condition, the full sheet, 8 ¼ x 5 7/8, the sheet 11 3/4 x 8 3/8 inches.

A very good impression, with the fine grain aquatint contrating slightly with the highlights on the head and shoulder of the old witch, down the right side of the second witch.

Harris notes that in the later (posthumous) editions the aquatint wears down gradually until the plate prints as a pure etching with a slight general stain.

Goya’s commentary: The broom is one of the most necessary implements for witches; for besides being great sweepers, as the stories tell, they may be able to change the broom into a fast mule and go with it where the Devil cannot reach them.

The Athenaeum, Portsmouth

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

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Childe Hassam (1859-1935), The Athenaeum, Portsmouth, etching and drypoint, 1915, signed in pencil with the cypher lower right and inscribed “imp”, also titled in pencil lower left toward the sheet edge. [also signed, titled and dated in the plate, with “Dot”, center left] Printed on an antique Bible paper. Reference: Cortissoz/Clayton 14. In very good condition, with full margins, with the usual drying tack holes Hassam employed when printing personally, 8 1/2 x 6 inches, the sheet 11 7/8 x 9 1/4d inches.

A fine impression of this great rarity, with selectively wiped plate tone highlighting the upper windows of the building, with rich burr from the drypoint work at the left and right sides of the composition.

Cortissoz notes: “Done from nature in Miss Dorothy Whitcomb’s car.”

“The facade of the masterpiece by Charles Bullfinch….This is one of the three buildings by Bullfinch in this beautiful old American Town.” (Cortissoz)

Hassam loved to use old Bible paper for printing when possible; here the verses (from Psalms, CVIII and CIX) are on the left side of the sheet and the rest of the sheet was reserved for commentary.

This is a relatively early etching for Hassam, although he was not young when he created it – he began printmaking in earnest in mid-career, well after he had achieved renown as America’s great impressionist master.

 

photo

Hassam – The Athenaeum, Portsmouth, the full sheet

 

 

Ensayos (Trials)

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

goyaensayos

 

Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Ensayos (Trials), etching, aquatint and burin, 1799. Plate 60 of the Caprichos, First Edition. Harris 95, Delteil 97. In very good condition (with the binding holes showing at left), printed in sepia on a soft but strong laid paper, 8 1/16 x 6 1/2, he full sheet, 12 1/16 x 8 3/4 inches.

A fine impression.

Harris notes that the fine grain aquatint in one pale tone contrasts with the highlights on the central figure’s chest, the cat and the skull in the foreground, and with the highlights on the ‘teacher,’ particularly in the early impressions where the aquatint forms a line across her stomach. In this impression these aquatint highlights are quite prominent, as is the line across the teacher’s stomach.

Goya’s commentary: “Little by little she is making progress. She is already making her first steps and in time she will know as much as her teacher. ”  The drawing in pen and sepia ink has a legend elucidating this note: “Trial of novice witches on their first flight and they  set to work with fear.”

Sheet of Studies: Head of the Artist, a Beggar Couple, Heads of an Old Man and Old Woman, etc.,

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

 

B363_SheetofStudies_HS

 

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669), Sheet of Studies: Head of the Artist, a Beggar Couple, Heads of an Old Man and Old Woman, etc., etching, 1632. References: Bartsch, Hollstein 363, New Hollstein 115, Hind 90. In good condition (apart from traces of a diagonal fold, minor staining). Second state (of 2), 4 x 4 1/8 inches.

A fine early impression of this rare print.

Provenance:

ex Coll. Viscount Downe (?, with stamp verso, cf. Lugt 719a);

Helmut H. Rumbler (Frankfurt-am-Main, stock number 33004 verso)

C.G. Boerner (New York, Dusseldorf, stock number 28987 / RZ verso)

Gerardo Rueda (Spain, 1926-1996); Rueda was a painter and sculptor well known for his art collection as well as his own work.

 

Nowell-Eusticke rates its rarity RR+ (“a very scarce sheet of 1632”).

In addition to the large self portrait the sheet portrays a beggar couple, an old man, an old woman, and other elements. Such sheets, both in drawings and a number of etchings, belong to the tradition of “model books.”

 

 

 

 

Jan Lutma, Goldsmith 1656

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

 

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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

1606 Leiden – Amsterdam 1669

Jan Lutma, Goldsmith 1656

etching, engraving, and drypoint on thin chine; 196 x 150 mm

Bartsch 276, White/Boon 276 first state (of three); Hind 290; New Hollstein 293 first state (of five)

provenance

John Malcolm, Poltalloch, Argyleshire, Scotland and London (cf. Lugt 1489)

British Museum, London, acquired from the above in 1895 (cf. for the museum’s stamps designated to the Malcolm collection Lugt 1780–81; all the above according to the annotated Colnaghi label on the old backing of the frame)

P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (their stock no. in pencil on the verso C.21644)

Percival Duxbury (1872–1945), Bredbury, Cheshire (acquired from the above in 1936)

Lilian Honor Lewis (by descent; d. 2013)

New Hollstein lists three other impressions on Chinese paper.

Jan Lutma (c. 1584-1669) was a master gold and silversmith; he holds an object with a turned stem (possibly a candlestick) in his right hand, and on the table at his left is a drinking bowl.

Rembrandt used a fine needle to draw the portrait and furniture; then enriched the plate through hatching and drypoint. In this impression one can observe substantial drypoint burr, particularly in Lutma’s coat. In the second state Rembrandt added a window in the room (with a signature and date in the upper left pane), and shadows on the wall.

 

 

Christ at Emmaus: the larger plate 1654

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

 


rembrandtemmaus

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
1606 Leiden – Amsterdam 1669

Christ at Emmaus: the larger plate 1654

etching and drypoint;

Bartsch 87, White/Boon second state (of three); Hind 282; The New Hollstein 283 second state (of five)

provenance

August Artaria, Vienna (Lugt 33);

his sale, Artaria & Co., Vienna, May 6–13, 1896, lot 534, described as superbe épreuve avec beaucoup de barbes. Rare.

Julius Rosenberg, Copenhagen (Lugt 1519 and 1520);

his sale, C.G. Boerner, Leipzig, May 1–2, 1901, lot 178, described as prachtvoller Abdruck des zweiten Zustandes, mit starkem Grat. … Aus Sammlung Artaria.

Dr. Julius Elischer von Thurzóbánya, Budapest (Lugt 824)

P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (their stock no. in pencil on the verso C. 12793)

Percival Duxbury (1872–1945), Bredbury, Cheshire (acquired from the above in 1936)

Lilian Honor Lewis (by descent; d. 2013)

An extraordinarily fine very early impression, with substantial burr from the drypoint work added in this state. Subsequent states are posthumous.

 

 

Ponte del Piovan

Monday, July 28th, 2014

whistlerpiovan3 James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Ponte del Piovan, 1879-1880, etching and drypoint, signed on the tab with the butterfly and inscribed “imp.” [also signed with the butterfly in the plate, toward the right on the bridge]  References: Kennedy 209, Glasgow 220, fifth state (of 6).It was published  (in the fifth and sixth states) by Messrs Dowdeswell and Thibaudeau with A Set of Twenty-six Etchings (the Second Venice Set) in 1886.  This is the impression cited and illustrated in Kennedy as the fourth state example; and noted as in the collection of W. Dowdeswell. 

In very good condition, trimmed around the plate mark except for the tab by the artist. Printed in a dark brown ink on a laid paper. With a tiny W and a “0” verso, possibly by Whistler; also annotated “second state” verso in pencil, 8 7/8 x 6 inches.

Provenance: letters SMS in pencil verso (not in Lugt).

Walter Dowdeswell (1858-1929), as listed by Kennedy (cf. Lugt 799). Dowdeswell was a London art dealer, and also a collector of Whistler’s work.

watermark: partial crowned shield with fleur-de-lis (cf. Spink/Stratis/Tedeschi, watermark nos. 284f.)

An extremely fine impression, with intense plate tone toward the bottom of the sheet, and with much burr on the drypoint work added for this state.

This impression was surely printed early in or before the edition, for prints from the edition typically show much wear in the drypoint work (so much so that Kennedy thought the worn impressions constituted a new state).

According to Glasgow, the Ponte del Piovan, Venice, Italy, “has been rebuilt several times, but the view is still remarkably unchanged. The etching was drawn from a gondola, looking north down the Rio de Ca’ Widmann to the Ponte del Piovan detto del Volto, with the Palazzo Widmann beyond. This view, drawn accurately on the copper plate, is reversed, as usual, in the print. 

Although Glasgow notes that approximately 44 impressions of Ponte del Piovan were published for the Second Venice Set edition, the print has appeared only rarely on the market in the last 25 years.

Nocturne Palaces

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

 

Whistler_NocturnePalaces_K202_firstState_HS

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 Lowell, Massachusetts – London 1903), Nocturne: Palaces 1879–80, etching and drypoint printed in dark brown on off-white laid paper; 298 x 201 mm (11 3/4 x 7 7/8 inches), trimmed by the artist just outside the platemark all round; signed in pencil with the butterfly and inscribed imp on the tab; Kennedy 202 before first state (of eight); Glasgow 200 intermediary state between the first and the second (of twelve)

watermark: crowned shield with hunting horn and pendant letters wp

provenance

Frederick Keppel & Co., New York (their stock no. in pencil on the verso a10068)

Mrs. John D. Rockefeller

Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller III

Dr. and Mrs. James W. Nelson

Linda Papaharis, New York

Samuel Josefowitz, Pully, Switzerland (acquired in 1988)

A superb impression with carefully modulated tonal wiping; with substantial burr from the drypoint work especially towards the top and bottom of the composition, in impeccable condition.

Before the row of small vertical strokes in the water immediately below the wall of the left palace, to the left of the patch indicating the doorway’s reflection. Those strokes are already visible in Kennedy’s first state but not yet in the second state described in the Glasgow catalogue. However, Glasgow’s second state does show a vertical band of short horizontal lines along the left edge of the shadow cast on the water by the bridge. These horizontal strokes are clearly missing in our impression, making it therefore an intermediary state between Glasgow’s first and second states.

The unique first state in the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is annotated by the artist “1st state 1st proof”; while the composition is basically finished, it lacks any of the tonal wiping characteristic for this print and was never trimmed to the platemark. Apart from this unique “proof,” the present sheet can therefore be considered as the earliest known impression pulled from the “finished” plate.  We believe this is the only recorded impression of this new “second” state.

Each impression of Nocturne: Palaces is different from the others, in effect a monotype, expressing different times of night or day, temperatures, effects of light. Margaret MacDonald in her classic Palaces in the Night: Whistler in Venice amplifies:  “Nocturne: Palaces was a daring plate: difficult to print, relying heavily on the quality of the ephemeral drypoint lines…in the best impressions it is the inking of the plate that coordinates and unifies the widely dispersed lines of shading. The linear pattern of marks is unusual and the inking makes each print unique.”

 

The Embroidered Curtain

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

 

Whistler_EmbroideredCurtain_HS

James Whistler (1834-1903), The Embroidered Curtain 1889, etching and drypoint, printed in brown on laid paper; 240 x 159 mm (9 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches), trimmed on the platemark all round; signed in pencil with the butterfly and inscribed imp on the tab [also signed with the butterfly upper left], Kennedy 410 first state (of seven); Glasgow 451 first state (of ten)

watermark: Pro Patria

provenance

Robert Rice, his mark (not in Lugt) on verso of backing sheet

David Tunick, Inc., New York (his code in pencil on verso of backing sheet DT …)

Gordon Cooke Ltd., London

Samuel Josefowitz, Pully, Switzerland (acquired in 1989)

 

Literature

Sixty-Five Prints by James McNeill Whistler, sale catalogue, David Tunick, Inc., New York 1975 (Catalogue Number 7), no. 43

A very fine, shimmering impression of this great rarity; only a few other first state impressions are recorded, one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, another at the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

 

The Village Festival

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
DSCF8169

Dusart – The Village Festival

Cornelis Dusart (1660-17040), The Village Festival, etching, 1685 [signed in the plate lower left “Corn. duSart fe/1685]. References: Bartsch 16, Hollstein 16, second state (of 3). In very good condition, 10 x 13 1/8 inches.

Ex. Collection Charles Ryscamp

A fine impression of this lively, complex composition.

In this monumental portrayal Dusart creates a deep perspective, with very dark figures in the foreground, most of the action in the middle distance, and in the farthest distance a church steeple, distinct only in early impressions such as ours. The inn’s banner identifies it as the “Gulde Schenk Kan” (Golden Tankard).

Dusart was a favored pupil of Adriaen van Ostade, and apparently inherited much of the contents of Ostade’s studio, for the inventory of his estate contained many drawings by Adriaen and his brother Isaak. As is evident by The Village Festival, Dusart was influenced by the Ostades, as well as other Dutch masters such as Jan Steen.

DSCF8170

detail

 

 

Shadow Dance

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

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Martin Lewis (1881-1962), Shadow Dance – – 1930, Drypoint and Sand Ground.

McCarron 88. Edition 109 (including at least 7 trial proofs). Signed in pencil. [Signed in the plate, lower right].

Image size 9 7/16 x 10 7/8 inches (240 x 276 mm); sheet size 13 1/8 x 14 7/8 inches (333 x 378 mm).

A superb, rich impression, on cream laid paper, with full margins (1 3/4 to 2 inches); in pristine condition.

One of Lewis’s great Precisionist works, and an icon of American printmaking, as well as a wonderful New York image. McCarron notes that initially Lewis named this Shadow Dance, Sunset, but then shortened the title.  In a note found on another impression it is mentioned that the man on the left is Lewis himself.  The setting is Park Avenue at 34th Street, Manhattan.

The Little Nude Model, Reading

Friday, February 28th, 2014

 

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Whistler – The Little Nude, Reading

 

James Whistler (1830-1903), The Little Nude Model, Reading, lithograph, 1889-90; [signed with the butterfly in the stone]. Reference: Spink 33, Way 29, only state. Printed by Goulding, January 1904, on a medium weight ivory laid paper with the watermark OWP & AOL, Spink watermark #219. In generally good condition (irregular mat staining outside of the image, a small paper loss left edge) on a large sheet, 10 1/4 x 7 3/4, the sheet 14 3/4 x 10 1/4 inches.

Provenance:

Colnaghi, London (with their stock number C4540 lower right recto)

Unidentified collector (circular stamp lower left verso, not found in Lugt)

Kennedy Gallery (with stock number A97479 verso)

Initials in pencil DK and HNO verso (not in Lugt, possible stock refererences)

A good impression of this popular image. Little Nude Model, Reading sold better than any other lithograph in Whistler’s 1895-6 exhibition at the Fine Art Society, and only one impression remained in his estate in 1903.

A total of 28 impressions of The Little Nude Model, Reading were made by Way, and just after Whistler’s death an edition of 55 were printed by Goulding.

George Bellows: A Collection (to be sold individually)

Monday, November 25th, 2013

 

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We are pleased to offer an extraordinary group of George Bellows lithographs, from a private collection, representing all major areas of Bellows’s printed oeuvre, including iconic boxing images, examples of prints from the War Series, New York scenes, vignettes of American life, and portraits of the artist and his family and friends. A listing of these lithographs is shown below (some may not be available as this offering continues). These are being sold individually. Inquiries are welcome, via phone or e mail.

 

The Life Class, First Stone
Mother and Children (“June Again”)
Artists Judging Works of Art
Business Men’s Class (Business Men’s Class, Y.M.C.A.) Preliminaries (Preliminaries to the Big Bout)
The Life Class, Second Stone (The Model, Life Class)

Shower-bath

Dance in a Madhouse
Tennis (Tennis Tournament)
The Tournament (Tennis at Newport)
Sunday 1897 (Sunday, Going to Church)
In the Subway
The Hold Up, first state
Counted Out, Second Stone
Introductions
Introducing Georges Carpentier
The Black Hat (Emma in a Black Hat)
Married Couple
Billy Sunday
Between Rounds, Small, Second Stone
Business Men’s Bath
The Dead-Line (The Strikers)
Punchinello in the House of Death
The Irish Fair
The Return to Life
The Garden of Growth
The Crowd, second state
Farewell to Utopia
The Drunk, first stone
The Drunk, second stone
The Actress (Lady of 1860, The Actress)
Wedding
Dempsey and Firpo
Dempsey Through the Ropes
Anne in a Black Hat
Jean in a Black Hat, first state
Portrait of Mrs. Herb Roth

Drawing: Nude Study, Boy on a Raft

 

 

 

Chrysler Building (Chrysler Building in Construction)

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Cook-ChryslerEmail

 

Howard Cook (1901-1980), Chrysler Building (Chrysler Building in Construction) - 1930, Wood Engraving.

Duffy 122. Edition 75, only 50 printed. 1931, signed in pencil.

Image size 10 1/16 x 6 11/16 inches (256 x 170 mm); sheet size 11 7/8 x 9 inches (302 x 229 mm).

A superb, black impression, on thin cream wove Japan paper, in excellent condition.

By the early 1930s, Cook’s prints of New York, especially its skyscrapers and bridges, were widely known and often reproduced in such magazines as Harpers and The Atlantic Monthly. The first solo exhibition of his prints was held in 1929 at the Weyhe Gallery in New York.

While Cook’s lithographs of New York were made in collaboration with the printer George Miller, he insisted on printing his woodcuts and etchings himself. Cook lived in New Mexico for much of his life, and only took up residence in New York for varying periods between 1930 and 1938; nonetheless, he remains most renowned for the prints he produced of what he described as “the endearing serrated skyline of the most exciting modern city in the world”.

Here Cook shows the Chrysler Building before the addition of its famous art deco “crown.” For a brief period after it was finished and before the completion of the Empire State Building in 1931, it was the tallest building in the world. Cook’s perspective of the illuminated building, seen from below, enhances a sense of its looming monumentality; this is further reinforced by the dark geometric forms of the smaller surrounding buildings.

 

 

 

The Swiss Restaurant

Monday, November 18th, 2013

 

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Peggy Bacon (1895-1987), The Swiss Restaurant, 1918, etching and drypoint, signed, titled and annotated “For Sandy” in pencil.  Reference: Janet Flint 17, only state, no edition known. In very good condition, with margins, 5 7/8 x 7 7/8, the sheet 8 3/8 x 9 3/4 inches.

A fine rich impression with substantial burr from the drypoint work.

The Swiss Restaurant was a favorite eating place for students of the Art Students League, near Carnegie Hall. The inscription “For Sandy” refers to Bacon’s son, Alexander Brook.

Peggy Bacon was born in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She studied at the Art Students League with John Sloan, Kenneth Hayes Miller, and George Bellows. Bacon is known to many audiences, for she created paintings and prints, wrote poetry and novels, and illustrated over 60 children’s books. Print lovers know her best for her splendid drypoint compositions, including early modernist works, and her satirical portrayals of both rural and New York life.

Three Travelers Crossing a Bridge in the Snow

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Smokehounds

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Marsh-SmokehoundsBig2 (1)

 

Reginald Marsh (1898-1954), Smokehounds, 1934, Etching

Sasowsky 158. Edition 13. Signed in pencil. [Initialed and dated in the plate, lower right.]

Image size 11 7/8 x 8 13/16 inches (300 x 224 mm); sheet size 14 1/4 x 10 3/4 inches (362 x 273 mm).

A fine, crisp impression, on BFK Rives off-white wove paper, with full margins (7/8 to 1 3/8 inch). A repaired tear (3/8 inch) in the bottom left sheet edge, well away from the image, otherwise in excellent condition. Printed by the artist. Very scarce.  

Marsh made a single trial proof of each of the eight states prior the definitive ninth state, but the design was complete in the first state. He successively added small changes in the successive states after the first; in the ninth he added shading lines in the lower left part of the girder at the left, and some additional shading to the left of the man standing at the far left. In his notes he mentioned that two of the prints among the thirteen he printed in the ninth state were “defective”, so the actual number of prints in the “edition” was surely fewer than 13 (and of course Marsh’s estimates of estate size were frequently off; he typically noted that the number of impressions in the final state was more than it actually was).

A painting by the artist of the same subject is in the permanent collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.; a drawing of the subject is in the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard. The title refers to the Bowery dwellers’ intoxication from cheap alcohol, popularly called “smoke.”

 

 

The Adoration of the Magi

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

M208_AdorationoftheMagi

Albrecht Dürer (1471 – Nuremberg – 1528), The Adoration of the Magi 1511, woodcut; 295 x 221 mm, Bartsch.3; Meder 208 b (of i); Schoch, Mende and Scherbaum 225

watermark: bull’s head and flower and initials JZ (Meder 70)

provenance

Graf Yorck von Wartenburg, Klein-Oels, Silesia (Lugt 2669);

his sale, C.G. Boerner, Leipzig, May 2-3, 1932, lot 382; 750 Marks to Guiot

Gabriel Cognacq, Paris (Lugt 538d);

his sale, M. Rousseau, Drouot, Paris, May 21, 1952, lot 105; 34,000 francs

P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (stock no. 28704)

Richard Zinser, Forest Hills, NY

thence by descent

N.G. Stogdon, cat. VIII: German and Netherlandish Woodcuts of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, 1991-92, no. 34

 

The print was made the same year Dürer published another version on this subject in the cycle of the Life of the Virgin (Meder 199; this latter print was actually executed earlier in ca. 1501-03). The 1511 version is slightly larger than the blocks in the series and it was clearly intended as a separate single-leaf print. Therefore, it presents an excellent opportunity to observe the remarkable artistic development between the two treatments of the same subject: Dürer brings a greater clarity and monumentality to the individual forms as well as to the whole composition. Ultimately, he redefines the traditional devotional image within a new artistic form.

 

Meder’s states (a) and (b) differ only in the watermark; Dürer seemed to have used paper with a high crown watermark (Meder 20) for part of his earliest edition of this print and even his state (a) already shows first traces of a fine vertical crack in the block at top and bottom; as described by Meder under (a), this crack is hardly noticeable in the present impression.

 

A very fine impression; the borderline visible all round; glue marks stemming from an old album mount visible only on the verso, otherwise in excellent condition.

 

 

 

 

Lutteurs (Fighters)

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

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Jacques Lipschitz (1891-1973), Lutteurs (Fighters), etching, aquatint, burin, c. 1940, signed in pencil lower right and numbered 8/33 lower left, from the presumed edition of 33. In very good condition, with margins (slight soiling in margins) printed on a cream wove paper. 13 3/4 x 9 15/16, the sheet 18 1/2 x 13 inches.

A fine, strongly printed impression, in black ink on medium weight ivory/cream laid paper.

An impression of this print in the collection of the University of Virginia Museum of Art, from the T. Catesby Jones Collection, is titled: The Road to Exile.

Lipschitz has worked this plate in sculptural terms: the etched lines are bitten deeply, the engraved lines are cut vigorously, and the aquatint is drawn in effective contrasts against a deep black background, so that the printmaking itself heightens the drama of the composition.

Lipschitz, born in Druskeniki, Polish Lithuania, began his art studies at Vilna but went to Paris in 1909 to study at the famed Academy Julian, and then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He focused on sculpture; was influenced by Archipenko, African sculpture, and of course Cubism; became a close friend of Juan Gris and an admirer of Rodin. While in Paris he explored printmaking at Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17. (Hayter, a British painter-printmaker, had established a workshop in Paris in 1927 where he taught classes in etching and engraving to artists interesting in printmaking, and provided facilities for established artists such as Picasso, Ernst, Calder, Chagall, Giacometti, as well as Lipschitz. In 1940 he moved the workshop to New York.) In 1941, after Hitler’s army occupied France Lipschitz escaped to the United States, where after a short time he resumed his connection with Hayter, completing his very few intaglio prints (probably only about 7 in all) which were rich and inventive studies and variations in Cubist volume, mostly related to the theme of the Minotaur, a subject he also explored in his sculpture.

Sunbathers on the Roof

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

sloanroof8101-001

 

John Sloan (1871-1951), Sunbathers on the Roof, etching, 1941, signed and titled in pencil, from the edition of 175 published by the American College of Print Collectors, in good condition (old hinging top edge verso, a scratch verso not showing through). Reference: Morse 307. 6 x 7, the sheet 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches.

A fine clear impression, printed on an ivory laid paper, with full margins with deckle edges.

Sloan wrote of this print: “In the spring as the rays grow warmer, the tenement roofs in New York begin to come to life. More washes are hung out – gay colored underthings flap in the breezes, and on Saturdays and Sundays girls and men in bathing togs stretch themselves on newspapers, blankets or sheets in the sun, turning over at intervals like hotcakes.”

Les Courses – The Races at Longchamps

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

 

Manet_LesCourses

Edouard Manet

1832 – Paris – 1883

Les Courses a Longchamps– The Races at Longchamps 1864

lithograph on chine appliqué;

chine: 404 x 517 mm (15 7/8 x 20 5/16 inches)

Moreau-Nélaton 85; Guérin 72; Wilson-Bareau (1977) 66; Wilson-Bareau (1978) 76; Fisher 56; Harris 41 second state (of three)

 

provenance

Robert M. Light & Co., Inc., Boston

Carolyn and George Rowland, Boston (acquired in 1972)

 

Paul Sachs in his Modern Prints and Drawings asks: “Why is this scribble, done in fever heat, important enough to reproduce? Because an impression of a shifting scene has rarely, if ever, been better rendered in black and white; because the excitement of the race track is made so vivid that we want to shout and bet on the winner; because the significance of movement is stressed; and finally because there is present in the skillful rendering of the agitated scene a quality that is of importance in a work of art: complete consistency of treatment.

Midnight Manhattan

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

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Ellison Hoover (1888-1955), Midnight Manhattan, lithograph, c. 1930, signed in pencil lower right. From the edition of 50. In very good condition, with full margins, 10 7/8 x 8 5/8, the sheet 13 x 11 inches.

A fine impression of Hoover’s most iconic image, printed on a cream wove paper.

An atmospheric, and possibly slightly romanticized vision of mid-town Manhattan, with the Chrysler Building clearly recognizable toward the left, and the Empire State Building at the right.

 

Manhattan Vista

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

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Armin Landeck (1905-1984), Manhattan Vista, drypoint, 1934, signed and dated in pencil lower right and inscribed “Ed 100”  lower right. Reference: Kraeft 47, only state, stated edition of 100. In very good condition, with full margins, 10 1/8 x 8 7/8, the sheet 13 7/8 x 12 1/4 inches.

A fine impression, printed on a cream wove paper.

Landeck wrote of this print: “Detail [lower left] from my lithograph, View of New York [K. 37, 1932).

 

Night in New York

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

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Martin Lewis (1881-1962) Night in New York, drypoint, 1932, signed in pencil lower right [also signed in the plate in a rectangle lower right]. Reference: McCarron 102, from the edition of 125 (another 10 impressions were reserved for the artist). In very good condition, with full margins, 8 3/8 x 8 7/8, the sheet 13 1/8 x 11 5/8 inches.

A presentation print of the Chicago Society of Etchers, with their blindstamp lower left.  The edition was printed by Charles S. White.

A fine impression, printed in black ink on cream laid paper.

New York was a central subject matter for Lewis; in Night in New York he depicts a typical New York young women – perhaps not distractingly attractive, but that was never a concern of Lewis’s – and by focusing on a single figure captures both the excitement, and the loneliness, of the city.

 

New York

Monday, July 29th, 2013

 

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Louis Lozowick (1892-1973), New York, lithograph, c. 1925, signed and dated 1923 in pencil. Reference: Flint 6. In excellent condition, the full sheet with deckle edges, printed on a cream wove BFK Rives paper (with the watermark initials BFK); 11 3/8 x 8 15/16, the sheet 15 3/4 x 11 1/4 inches. Margins: left 1 3/8, bottom 2 1/8, right 1, top 2 3/8 inches. One of approximately 15 known impressions.

A fine fresh impression of this great rarity.

Flint (1982) lists an impression in the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian) but lists no other institutions holding this print; an impression was given to the British Museum in 1993 (and it served as the cover print for the catalog of their major exhibition The American Scene, The British Museum Press, 2008).

“New York” is a cubist/futurist vision of the city Lozowick conceptualized while in Europe during the period from 1920-24.  ”New York” is a composite of recollected views – the Brooklyn Bridge is at the lower left; much was  recalled, according to Lozowick, from trips on the elevated line on West 109th Street made when attending the National Academy of Art during the years 1912-15; the buildings and the elevated subway cars at the right are treated in what Lozowick called a “futurist technique.”

British Museum curator Stephen Coppel, in The American Scene catalog, calls “New York” “Lozowick’s most important print,” expressing his “utopian vision of New York as the ultimate symbol of the modern American city.”

Lozowick was of course influential in developing the American School of Precisionism, even while he was in Europe in the early ’20’s, and then later when he returned to the U.S.  In his essay on the Americanization of Art, written in the late ’20’s, he famously noted that the “artist who confronts his task with original vision and accomplished craftsmanship, will note with exactitude the articulation, solidity and weight of advancing and receding masses, will define with precision the space around objects and between them; he will organize line, plane and volume into a well knit design…and weave organically into every composition an all pervading rhythm and equilibrium.”

 

 

Wapping, The Pool (The Large Pool)

Monday, June 24th, 2013

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James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), The Large Pool (Wapping, The Pool), etching and drypoint, 1879, signed with the butterfly on the tab, [also signed with the butterfly in the plate, lower left]. References: Kennedy 174, Glasgow 180, Glasgow’s eighth state (of 8), In excellent condition, trimmed by the artist on the plate mark except for the tab, 7 1/2 x 11 inches.

Provenance:

Edward James

Robert Light & Co., Boston, then to Carolyn Crossett Rowland in April, 1988.

Printed in dark brownish/black ink on cream/ivory laid paper with the Arms of Amsterdam watermark.

A very fine impression of this extremely rare print, signed in pencil with the early large shaded butterfly (butterfly of 1879). This print was not published; the Whistler Etchings Project at Glasgow has identified 13 impressions.

The Large Pool shows the Pool of London at Wapping, the scene of several prints of the Thames done some twenty years earlier. In composition it anticipates the etchings Whistler was about to do in Venice.

According to the Glasgow catalogue Whistler apparently had a high regard for this plate, as evidenced by the care he took with selection of papers and printing of various states, and by correspondence regarding the plate; and he may have hoped it would help him avert bankruptcy.  But it did not (and indeed he gave one impression to James Waddell, the accountant involved in the bankruptcy proceedings); in the end no edition of the print was made.

Tourelle Rue de Tixeranderie (House with a Turret, Rue de Tixeranderie)

Friday, June 21st, 2013

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Charles Meryon (1821-1868), Tourelle Rue de Tixeranderie, etching, 1852. References: Schneiderman 24, 2-3rd state (of 5); Delteil 29, 2-3rd  state (of 5). In very good condition, printed in browish/black ink on a bluish laid paper. In very good condition, with full margins, 9 5/8 x 5 1/8, the sheet 12 5/8 x 8 inches.

Provenance:

Knoedler (with their stock number K5360 verso0

Kennedy Galleries (with their stock number a 48762 verso)

Émile Galichon (1829-1875), Paris (Lugt 856; cf. also Lugt 1058f, which mentions his posthumous 1875 sale of Meryon.), his sale, Paris (expert Clément), May 10-14, 1875

A fine fresh impression.

In the Schneiderman’s fourth state (and Delteil’s IV and V) the inscription was added below.  This impression corresponds to Schneiderman’s illustration of State 2, but “random scratches in the sky and on the walls of the house” are not apparent, and it also seems the small gaps described as filled in in State 3 are indeed filled in.

This house stood at the corner of the rue de Coq; it was demolished in 1851, so Meryon made preparatory drawings of the house just in time (Meryon was trying to capture Parisian scenes and structures that were vulnerable to the destructive forces of modernization).  The street was mentioned in Notre-Dame de Paris as among the most interesting in the city.

 

 

Le Styrge (The Vampire)

Friday, June 21st, 2013

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Charles Meryon (1821-1868), Le Styrge (The Vampire), etching, 1853. References: Schneiderman 27, fifth state (of 10); Delteil 23, fourth state (of 8). In very good condition, with full margins, printed on a blue/green laid paper, 6 5/8 x 5, the sheet 11 x 8 5/8 inches.

Provenance:

Knoedler, New York (with their stock number K 2341)

Colnaghi, London (with their stock number c 3114)

C. W. Dowdeswell (stamp verso, Lugt 690)

A fine rich impression, with plate tone. In the next state the inscription at the bottom is removed, the plate shows signs of wear and the printing is typically less rich, with little or no tone.  In this state the print was printed by the artist himself (cf. James D. Burke, Charles Meryon, Prints and Drawings, p. 33-9)

The Stryge is one of the stone gargoyles leaning on a parapet of the upper balcony of a tower of the Notre-Dame in Paris. In a letter to his father Meryon wrote: “This monster which I have represented does exist, and is in no way a figment of imagination. I thought I saw in this figure the personification of Luxuria; it is this thought which inspired me to compose the two verses at the bottom of the print…”  The verse, in translation: “Insatiable vampire,/Eternal Luxuria/ Coveting the Great City/ As its feeding place.”

L’Abside de Notre Dame de Paris – 4th State

Friday, June 21st, 2013

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Charles Meryon (1821-1868), L’Abside de Notre Dame de Paris, etching with engraving and drypoint, 1854. References: Schneiderman 45, fourth state (of 9), Delteil 38, fourth state (of 8). In good condition, with thin area top edge, with full margins, 6 1/2 x 11 5/8, the sheet 10 5/8 x 17 inches.

Provenance:

Knoedler (with their stock number K 3025)

A very good impression, printed in dark brownish/black ink on an ivory laid paper with the HUDELIST watermark (characteristic of impressions of L’Abside in this state), printed personally by the artist.

The eminent art critic Phillipe Burty wrote of L’Abside: “The view of Notre-Dame…is a magisterial sight. The church of Notre Dame seems to have exerted a great attraction on the dreamy spirit of the artist. It has dictated to a poet [Victor Hugo] one of the beautiful books of our generation; it has inspired in Meryon his most beautiful plate.”

 

Fish Shop, Chelsea

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

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James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Fish Shop, Chelsea, etching and drypoint, 1886, signed with the butterfly on the tab and inscribed imp [also signed with the butterfly in the plate upper left]. References: Kennedy 264, Glasgow 267, first state (of 2). In very good condition (slight staining upper right, trimmed by the artist on the plate mark all around except for the tab. Printed on an ivory laid paper with plate tone, 5 3/8 x 8 1/2 inches.

A limited edition of 50 impressions of Fish Shop, Chelsea was printed in 1886 for the benefit of the Society of British Artists; these were impressions of the first state.  Our impression was thus probably from that edition, although Whistler is known to have reserved about 5 impressions for himself.

A fine impression.

Provenance: Colnaghi, London (with their stock number c10570 verso).

In the relatively rare second state Whistler added drypoint lines to the woman behind the counter of the fish shop.

The etching shows Maunder’s Fish Shop among a row of shops in Chelsea.  The Glasgow catalogue notes: “Mrs Elizabeth Maunder’s fish-shop was at 72 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London. 9 The building was demolished in 1892… Whistler later lived in the house that replaced it, which was built by the architect C. R. Ashbee. The building was destroyed in World War 2. The same row of houses appears in Whistler’s oil painting Street in Old Chelsea painted in the early 1880s, where the fish-shop, with its light plastered walls and steep pitched roof, is just to left of centre.”

 

irving as philip

Monday, June 17th, 2013

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James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 Lowell, Massachusetts – London 1903), Irving as Philip of Spain, No. 2   1876/77,   drypoint and etching on tissue-thin Chine;

plate: 224 x 152 mm (8 13/16 x 6 inches)

sheet: 364 x 272 mm (14 5/16 x 10 11/16 inches)

inscribed by Whistler in pencil at lower right: very rare_ / printed by the “Maud”_

Kennedy 171, third state (of four); Glasgow 159 third state (of six)

provenance

Howard Mansfield, New York (Lugt 1342)

Harris G. Whittemore, Naugatuck, Connecticut (Lugt 1384a)

private Collection

Notes:

A rare print before cancellation. Glasgow notes that 22 impressions have been accounted for; however, the great majority of these are from the cancelled plate.

Maud Franklin was of course Whistler’s model and mistress; she was an artist, and, as indicated here, apparently did some printing for Whistler.  It is interesting that several of the pre-cancellation proofs shown in the Glasgow catalog show very irregular wiping patterns, perhaps characteristic of an inexperienced printer (i.e., Maud).  Our impression too has been wiped irregularly, especially towards the right side and around Irving’s legs. But selective wiping is evident; the figure has been wiped rather cleanly highlighting it against a background of plate tone.

The Glasgow catalog notes that this print “is closely related to Whistler’s oil painting, Arrangement in Black, No. 3: Sir Henry Irving as Philip II of Spain [y187], painted in 1876. Another version of the same drypoint is Irving as Philip of Spain, No. 1 [G 158].   Henry Irving (1838-1905) was an actor, the subject of many portraits and paintings. 

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Detail – Whistler’s inscription; Mansfield and Whittmore marks showing through

Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), 1897

Monday, June 17th, 2013

 

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Anders Zorn (1860-1920), Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), etching,  1897, signed in pencil lower right [also titled, initialed, dated in the plate]. References: Asplund 114, only state; Hjert and Hjert 74, Schubert-Soldern 85. In very good condition (upper margin edge as if taken from a notebook), with margins, 5 1/2 x 7 7/8, the sheet 8 x 12 1/2 inches.

A fine impression of this rather rare print, printed in dark brownish/black ink with plate tone on an ivory laid paper with the watermark Pro Patria with initials J  L & Z.

This portrait of  Saint Gaudens (1848-1907) shows the artist with his seductively posed model who is surely Davida Johnson Clark, the beautiful young model by whom he had a child.

Saint Christopher Facing Right 1521

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

 

Meder52_StChristopherFacingRight_HS (3)Albrecht Durer (1471 – Nuremberg – 1528)

Saint Christopher facing right    1521

engraving; 119 x 74 mm (4 11/16 x  2 15/16 inches)

Bartsch 52; Meder 52 a (of d); Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum 94

provenance
Wilhelm August Ackermann, Lübeck and Dresden (Lugt 791);
his sale, Rudolph Weigel, Leipzig, March 29ff., 1853, lot 138, described as
Kostbarster Druck und mit 11 Lin. breitem Rande.; sold for 7 Thaler 15 to
Gabriel von Cronstern III, Nehmten (cf. Stogdon, p. 357);
their sale (“a German Family of Title”, part 2), Christie’s, London, June 18, 1992, lot 56
Robert M. Light & Co., Inc., Santa Barbara
Carolyn and George Rowland, Boston

A superb impression in impeccable condition, with generous margins all round.

The silvery tones of this impression are characteristic of Dürer’s prints of the 1520s. In the engravings as well as the woodcuts (such as The Last Supper, 1523) made during this late part of his career, the artist began to replace the often dramatic black-and-white contrasts of his earlier prints with a wide range of subtle gradations of gray.

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Becquet – Definitive State

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
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Whistler – Becquet

James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Becquet, 1859, etching, printed in dark brown on ivory wove paper. Signed in pencil with the butterfly lower margin, and signed with the butterfly and inscribed by the artist “Very fine proof” and with the tiny circle device (the artist’s marking of a fine proof) verso.  In very good condition, remains of prior hinging verso. References: Glasgow 62, sixth state (of 6), Kennedy 52, fourth state (of four); Lochnan 55, included in the Thames Set, 10 x 7 5/8, the sheet 11 3/4 x 9 1/4 inches.

Provenance

Howard Mansfield (Lugt 1342, two stamps verso)

Harris Whitmore (Lugt 1384a, stamp verso)

E.R. Martin, New York (pencil initials verso, not in Lugt)

Charles C. Cunningham, Jr., Boston (not in Lugt, stamp verso)

R.M. Light and Co., Boston

acquired: Carolyn Crossett Rowland, from above, 1980

Kennedy Galleries (with their stock number verso, a27047)

A very fine, rich impression; given its exceptional quality probably printed apart from the Thames Edition.

Another impression in this state signed and with the artist’s inscription as here is in the Freer Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the signature on the Freer impression is estimated by Glasgow to be of 1890.

Whistler titled the plate The Fiddler when he published it as part of the Thames Set in 1871. It is one of the two non-Thames subjects included in the set (the other is The Forge, Kennedy 68). The print shows the French sculptor and musician Just Becquet (1829–1907), a friend of the artist who, according to Joseph Pennell’s Whistler Journal, lived in his studio among “disorder and his cello” (quoted after Lochnan, p. 104).

The plate on which the portrait was drawn had previously been used for an oblong view of West Point which a friend of Whistler brought to him for his opinion; stacked muskets and other paraphernalia can still be seen toward the lower edge of this print.

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Verso: Cunningham stamp; Whistler butterfly and inscriptions

 

Becquet – Pre-publication proof

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

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James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Becquet, 1859, etching, printed in black on very thin Japan paper (the sheet has various condition problems and is laid down on wove paper). References: Glasgow 62, fourth state (of 6; this impression is pictured in the Glasgow catalogue for the fourth state), Kennedy 52, second state (of four); Lochnan 55, 9 ¾ x 7 ½, the sheet 10 ½ x 8 inches.

Provenance

Knoedler & Co., New York (their stock no. in pencil on the verso MK31679)

An early impression of this print. This proof precedes those published in the Thames Set (the first printing of this Set was in the fifth state, a later printing in the 1870’s in the sixth state.  In states after the fourth the foul biting at the bottom of the plate was cleaned.

Whistler titled the plate The Fiddler when he published it as part of the Thames Set in 1871. It is one of the two non-Thames subjects included in the set (the other is The Forge, Kennedy 68). The print shows the French sculptor and musician Just Becquet

(1829–1907), a friend of the artist who, according to Joseph Pennell’s Whistler Journal, lived in his studio among “disorder and his cello” (quoted after Lochnan, p. 104).

“The plate on which the portrait was drawn had previously been used for an oblong view of West Point which a friend of Whistler

brought to him for his opinion; stacked muskets can still be seen at the lower right corner of this print”.

$3500

Nocturne: Palaces

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

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James Whistler (1834-1903), Nocturne: Palaces, etching and drypoint with plate tone, 1879-80, signed with the butterfly on the tab and inscribed “imp.” Also with a second butterfly in pencil verso, and the artist’s tiny circle device (signifying a selected proof).  Reference: Glasgow 200, twelfth state (of 12), Kennedy 202, ninth state (of 9). From the Twenty-Six Etchings,  the Second Venice Set. In very good condition (scattered light foxing verso, not visible recto), on laid paper (trimmed by the artist to the platemark except for the tab), 11 3/4 x 7 7/8 inches.

Watermark: Coat of Arms of Amsterdam

Provenance:

Kennedy Galleries (with their stock number a53836 verso

Ch. E. Ellingwood (Lugt 822, verso)

A superb, luminous impression, printed in brown ink, carefully wiped to darken the water in the canal in the foreground and the sky toward the top.

It is rather unusual for Whistler to sign his prints verso (as well as recto); this is sometimes considered evidence of a selected proof, as is his adding of one or more tiny circles. Of course Whistler was a practiced marketer, so such added markings are not always indicative of anything; and in any case they are quite unnecessary as proof of the quality of this impression.

In this state, in the words of the Glasgow catalogue, “considerable shading is added to the left side of the image, most notably: on the sky between the left and centre palaces and the wall of the right palace; under the eaves of the left palace; on the balcony, shadow and doorway of the left palace; on the centre palace, seen behind the bridge; around the beams eminating from the lamp; on the bridge, the shadow beneath it and its reflection; and on the reflection of the gondola.” These additions heighten the features of the palaces, the bridge, and the lamplight, which were losing focus in prior states.

Each impression of Nocturne: Palaces is different from the others, in effect a monotype, expressing different times of night or day, temperatures, effects of light. The lamp lighting the composition from within (a device borrowed from Rembrandt and also used in his Street at Saverne of 1858) is in this impression quite visible; in other impressions it is pale and nearly lost.  This impression is in some ways  comparable to an impression (also of the last state) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (pictured in Katherine A. Lochnan’s book The Etchings of James McNeill Whistler) although of course there are still substantial differences in the wiping of the plate tone. Indeed, differences in states for this print can be slight,  while differences in the wiping of the plate from one impression to another are vast.

Margaret MacDonald in her classic Palaces in the Night: Whistler in Venice amplifies:  “Nocturne: Palaces was a daring plate: difficult to print, relying heavily on the quality of the ephemeral drypoint lines…in the best impressions it is the inking of the plate that coordinates and unifies the widely dispersed lines of shading. The linear pattern of marks is unusual and the inking makes each print unique.”

 

The Country Dance, Small Plate

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
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Claude – The Country Dance, Small Plate

Claude Gellee, called Le Lorrain (1600-1682), The Country Dance, Small Plate, etching, c. 1637. Reference: Manocci 19, fourth state B (of seven). In very good condition, trimmed on or outside of the platemark, 5 3/8 x 7 3/4 inches.

Watermark: Pascal Lamb (Manocci watermark no. 19)

A fine lifetime impression, printed with a subtle layering of plate tone.

The first state of The Country Dance, with three goats in the foreground left, is known in only one impression (in the British Museum). The second state, with the goats burnished out, is also unique (collection: Oxford). In the third state, lines in the sky were burnished out, and in the fourth state (A) the plate corners have been rounded; in the fourth state (B) a long broken scratch runs through the highest of the three birds. In the fifth state, after our impression, the plate was entirely re-worked – a village has replaced the forest scene at the left, foliage in the lower left corner was reduced. The sixth and seventh states are posthumous.

Claude made his etchings as original works, with preparatory drawings; the preparatory drawing for The Country Dance is incised for transfer (at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). The theme of a country dance was used by Claude throughout his life, appearing in the closely related etching La Danse Villageoise (M. 20), and also in several drawings and paintings.

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Claude, The Country Dance – detail

 

The Rat Catcher

Thursday, April 25th, 2013
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Rembrandt – The Rat Catcher

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 
1606 Leiden – Amsterdam 1669

 

The Rat Catcher   1632

etching; 140 x 125 mm (5 1/2 x 4 7/8 inches)

Bartsch 121, White/Boon third (final) state (of three); Hind 97

watermark

double-headed eagle (Hinterding, vol. 2, p. 109, variant A.a.b, vol. 3, p. 177 ill.)

provenance

P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London (their stock nos. in pencil on verso C 14174 and C 30912)

private collection; sale, Sotheby’s, London, March 19, 2013, lot 52

 

A fine, early impression of this rare print; in excellent condition with small margins all round.

 

The first state of this print (before the shading to the right of the box of rat poison the boy is holding) is known in only two impressions; the second state (with the shading on the box but before additional shading in the foliage over the rat killer’s head) is known in one impression (Rothschild Collection, Paris). The plate is not in existence.

 

The watermark in this impression is known to Hinterding only in the unique second-state impression in the Rothschild collection in the Louvre; this confirms that this is indeed an early pull from the plate in its final state.

 

Rembrandt’s Rat Catcher is composed of elements he used earlier, e.g., the pedlar himself was after the Man with Hands Behind His Back (Bartsch 135) of 1631; and the man in the house resembles bearded characters in Rembrandt paintings of the period. The lightly etched landscape and farmhouse in the distance create a sense of depth, and represent a rather rare appearance of landscape for Rembrandt in the 1630s.

 

The rat catcher was frequently depicted by artists before Rembrandt, and even more frequently after Rembrandt’s version, including many copies clearly derived from Rembrandt’s composition.

 

rembrandtdetail

Rembrandt – The Rat Catcher – detail

 

Evening Wind

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Hopper_EveningWind_ (3)

Edward Hopper

1882 Nyack – New York 1967

 

Evening Wind   1921

 

 

etching on wove paper; 6 7/8 x 8 1/4 inches (sheet: 9 1/2 x 10 5/8 inches)

 

signed in pencil at lower right Edward Hopper; annotated by the artist on verso:

etching $35 / “The Evening Wind” / Edward Hopper /3 Wash. Square / New York

 

Levin 77; Zigrosser 9

 

provenance

private collection

Notes:

In a footnote to Zigrosser’s The Etchings of Edward Hopper he refers to Evening Wind as having seven states; this is corroborated by the Philadelphia Museum web site which shows their seven states of The Evening Wind (Zigrosser was curator of prints at Philadelphia). These may be progress proofs, one to a state; we have not encountered other proof states of the print, and know of no  definitive documentation of the states of Hopper prints. In all likelihood, then, our impression is of the definitive state. The drawing for the print is at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Gail Levin, in her Edward Hopper: The Complete Prints, writes that his later etchings were often carefully worked out in preliminary drawings, and notes “The evolution of Evening Wind to etching from preparatory drawing has meant a sharper focus on the nude woman in the foreground through elimination of the distracting definition of background details…” (p. 12). The basic composition from the drawing, and through the states, however, was unchanged.

L’Abside de Notre-Dame – The Apse of Notre-Dame, Paris, 3rd State, 1854

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Meryon_S45

Charles Meryon

1821 – Paris – 1868

L’Abside de Notre-Dame – The Apse of Notre-Dame, Paris   1854

etching with engraving and drypoint on thin laid paper; 163 x 300 mm (6 7/16 x 11 3/4 inches)

annotated in pencil at lower left “B. 50 [!] 1e non termine”

Burty 52; Delteil 38 third state (of eight); Schneiderman 45 third state (of nine)

watermark

CONTRIBUTIONS DIRECTES

provenance

Émile Galichon (1829-1875), Paris (Lugt 856; cf. also Lugt 1058f, which mentions his posthumous 1875 sale of Meryon.)

his sale, Paris (expert Clément), May 10-14, 1875

Phillipe Burty (1830-1890), Paris (Lugt 413; cf. the entry Lugt 2071 which mentions the sales of Burty’s collection)

his sale, Sotheby’s, London, April 27ff., 1876

possibly Francis Seymour Haden, London and Arlesford (cf. Lugt 1227 et al.; not stamped but annotated in pencil verso “Haden”)


Lugt refers to the sale (April 27 ff., Paris) of Burty’s first state impression of L’Abside; this is incorrect since the first state is unique (it is in the National Gallery, with an extensive provenance not including Burty); quite certainly Lugt is referring to our impression (which is also incorrectly noted as a first state in pencil on the recto, lower left). (Lugt: Dans cette vente figurait son œuvre exceptionnel de Meryon, 217 pièces en états variés, dont nous citons : L’Abside de Notre-Dame, 1r ét. £ 17….)

Phillipe Burty was an eminent art critic and collector; he was among the first to recognize the genius of Meryon, and wrote the first catalogue raisonne of his work.

Burty wrote of L’Abside: “The view of Notre-Dame…is a magisterial sight. The church of Notre Dame seems to have exerted a great attraction on the dreamy spirit of the artist. It has dictated to a poet [Victor Hugo] one of the beautiful books of our generation; it has inspired in Meryon his most beautiful plate.”

 

 

The Pool

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
mcbeypool

James McBey, The Pool, 1914

James McBey (1883-1959), The Pool, etching and drypoint, 1914, signed in pen lower right and numbered (I) lower left margin. Reference: Hardie 150. [also signed and dated June 1914 in the plate lower right]. From the edition of 50 (plus proofs). In very good condition, with margins, printed on laid white paper, 9 1/2 x 14 1/8, the sheet 11 1/8 x 15 5/8 inches.

Provenance: Harris Whittemore (Lugt 1384a, with his stamp lower left recto]

A fine impression, with much burr from the drypoint work.

McBey made about nine states of one impression each in the evolution of The Pool; most changes were minor, and the last few were touches of drypoint on and under some of the barges, and on some of the people; he also burnished marks in the water in his later proof impressions. This impression is numbered I, from the edition of fifty.

This is the Pool of London, from a warehouse near the south end of the Tower Bridge, looking toward warehouses and wharves on the north bank. It is not the Thames of Whistler, calm, unruffled, but a river of bustling activity.

Martin Hardie wrote, comparing The Pool to McBey’s The Lion Brewery, “Both have made record prices for the artist’s work in the saleroom….Decorative, attractive, masterly though [The Lion Brewery] it be, I cannot allow, for a moment that it has the vital significance and atmosphere of The Pool.  In this latter plate you find, stronger and intensified, the feeling of life and movement that began with the Moroccan Set; and movement is a very subtle thing to capture in a network of etched lines.”

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McBey – The Pool, detail

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McBey, The Pool, detail

Pyramid of Gaius Cestius near Porta S. Paolo

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

piranesipyramid

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), Piramide di Caio Costio Vicino alla Porta S. Paolo (Pyramid of Gaius Cestius near Porta S. Paolo), etching, 1745,  signature lower left. Amidei, 1745. Focillon 110, Wilton-Ely 54. From the First Edition of Varie Veduti di Roma Anticha e Moderna. In very good condition, with wide margins, marginal soiling and slight fraying left edge well outside of image, ink number upper right outside of plate mark.

A fine fresh impression; monumental in scope although in a small-scale format (5 x 7 inches). With margins (sheet is 8 7/8 x 13 inches).

The first edition is before the numbers (Tom II. pag 19) upper left and the number upper right (72) as pictured in Wilton-Ely (his illustration is from the Venuti edition of this plate, published in 1763).

The small views of Rome of the Varie Vedute, made at the outset of Piranesi’s career, were not re-issued in later editions of his collected works, since the plates were sold directly to publishers by Piranesi. They were used to illustrate guidebooks to Rome until the mid-1760’s.

 

Veduta dell Interno del Pantheon (Interior View of the Pantheon)

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

piranesipantheon

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), Veduta dell Interno del Pantheon (Interior View of the Pantheon), etching, 1756. First Edition, from the series Le Antichita Romane, Bouchard e Gravier 1756. References: Focillon 172, Wilton-Ely 307.  In excellent condition, 5 1/2 x 10 1/2, the sheet 10 1/2 x 15 5/8 inches.

A fine impression, printed on a cream laid paper (with the watermark double circle with fleur de lys and initials CB, Robison’s watermarki 33, as found in presentation volumes of the Vedute).

Piranesi developed the plates of the Antichita Romane (Roman Antiquities) after eight years of careful study and excavation. His aim, as with all his archaeological publications, was both to record the vanishing past, and to inspire designers to emulate these past achievements.

 

Veduta Interna Del Pronao del Pantheon

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

DSCF7994

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778),  etching, Veduta Interna Del Pronao del Pantheon, 1756, First Edition, from the series Le Antichita Romane, Bouchard e Gravier 1756. Reference: Focillon 171, Wilton-Ely 306.  In very good condition, with full margins, 5 1/4 x 8, the sheet 8 3/4 x 12 3/4 inches.

A fine delicately printed impression printed on medium cream laid paper.

An interior view of the porch of the Pantheon.

Piranesi developed the plates of the Antichita Romane (Roman Antiquities) after eight years of careful study and excavation. His aim, as with all his archaeological publications, was both to record the vanishing past, and to inspire designers to emulate these past achievements.

 

La Vieille aux Loques – early state

Friday, March 1st, 2013
Whistler_LaVieilleauxLoquesK21

Whistler – La Vieille aux Loques

James Whistler (1834-1903), La Vieille aux Loques, etching and drypoint, 1858. [signed in the plate with the reverse s], 8 1/8 x 5 3/4 inches.  Kennedy 21 first state (of three); Glasgow 27 second state (of 4).  In very good condition. Watermark: foolscap

Provenance:

Jules Gerbeau, Paris (Lugt 1166);

his sale, Strölin, Paris, May 25–27, 1908 (Lugt mentions a “belle série” of Whistler prints in this sale)

Kennedy Galleries, New York (their stock no. in pencil on verso a45616)

Howard Mansfield, New York (Lugt 1342)

Harris G. Whittemore, Naugatuck, Connecticut (Lugt 1384a)

A fine, rich impression of this early proof, before various shading and hatching lines and the name and address of the printer Delatre are added (in the Kennedy second state, Glasgow third state) for publication in the French Set.

La Vieille aux Loques is exceedingly rare in this state, i.e., prior to publication.  The Glasgow census indicates no early proofs among major Whistler collections (e.g., Chicago, Baltimore, British Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale, Colby, Boston MFA, Fogg, Freer, Hunterian, Cleveland, MMA ), with the exception of the NYPL Avery Collection (second state, cited by Kennedy), and the Library of Congress (first state, not known to Kennedy). The print is not rare in the third or fourth states.

La Vieille aux Loques was published in the later third state in Douze eaux-fortes d’après Nature (Twelve Etchings from Nature, the ‘French Set’) in 1858.

The composition, probably etched in Paris, is of course related to his other doorway or interior etchings such as The Rag Pickers, La Marchande de Moutarde, and The Kitchen, and, as Lochnan has pointed out, relates to a tradition in Dutch art of compositions framed by doorways, and later paintings by Francois Bonvin (1817-1887), Charles Jacque (1813-1894), and Jean Baptiste Millet (1831-1906).

 

Whistler_LaVieilleauxLoquesK21verso

La Vieille aux Loques – verso

 

Rag Pickers, Quartier Mouffetard, Paris – Early State, and Definitive State

Friday, March 1st, 2013
Whistler_RagPickers_3rdstate_K23

Whistler Rag Pickers, third state (of 5)

 

James A.M. Whistler (1834-1903), The Rag Gatherers (Rag Pickers, Quartier Mouffetard, Paris); etching, 1858.  6 3 1/2 inches, in very good condition.

Kennedy 23 third state (of five) – this impression mentioned; Glasgow third state (of 5) – this impression mentioned.

signed in pencil at lower left corner of the sheet Whistler [also signed, with the reverse s, in the plate]

Printed in dark brownish/black on a cream laid paper; watermark: letters LVG pendant to a coat of arms (probably with Strasbourg lily)

Provenance:

Kennedy Galleries, New York (their stock no. in pencil on verso a37141)

Howard Mansfield, New York (Lugt 1342)

Harris G. Whittemore, Naugatuck, Connecticut (Lugt 1384a)

Together with an impression of Kennedy’s fifth (and final) state (see illustration below); Watermark: Three balls with peak of a foolscap (?)

In the first four states of Rag Pickers only shading and detailed changes are made to the  print; in the fifth state a radical change is introduced: two figures are added, a girl sitting up in bed and a boy standing near her. Lochnan suggested that Rag Pickers, Quartier Mouffetard, Paris was etched on Whistler’s return from the Rhineland in 1858, that is, after 7 October, and that the figures were added when Ralph Thomas Sr. (1803-1862), was encouraging Whistler to print his etchings in preparation for his first show of etchings in London (cf Glasgow). Most impressions known are of the final state; impressions of the third or earlier states are relatively rare. The final state was probably printed in 1861, although many impressions of the final state may be later.

This was etched in Paris, in the Mouffetard district of the Latin Quarter. The composition is of course related to his other doorway or interior etchings such as La Vielle aux Loques, La Marchande de Moutarde, and The Kitchen, and, as Lochnan has pointed out, relates to a tradition in Dutch art of compositions framed by doorways, and later paintings by Francois Bonvin (1817-1887), Charles Jacque (1813-1894), and Jean Baptiste Millet (1831-1906).

Whistler_RagPickers_5thstate_K23

Whistler, Rag Pickers, 5th state

Whistler_RagPickers_3rdstate_K23verso

Whistler – Rag Pickers, third state, verso

 

Die Entführung auf dem Einhorn – Abduction on a Unicorn 1516

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Meder67_AbductiononaUnicorn (2)

 

 

Albrecht Dürer

1471 – Nuremberg – 1528

Die Entführung auf dem Einhorn – Abduction on a Unicorn    1516

etching; 310 x 212 mm (12 1/4 x 8 5/16 inches)

Bartsch 72; Meder 67; Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum

watermark

anchor in circle (Meder 171)

provenance:

Gilhofer & Ranschburg, Lucerne

Carl and Rose Hirschler, geb. Dreyfus, Haarlem (Lugt 633a), acquired in January 1938;

thence by descent

 

exhibition:

B.L.D. Ihle/J.C. Ebbinge Wubben, Prentkunst van Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Dürer, Israhel van Meckenem. Uit eene particuliere verzameling, exhibition catalogue, Museum Boijmans, Rotterdam, 1955, p. 34, no. 55

 

 

A fine impression before any rust spots; in excellent condition; trimmed within the platemark, with the borderline visible all round as well as the four rounded corners of the plate.

 

Der Liebesantrag – The Ill-Assorted Couple

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Meder77_IllAssortedCouple (2)

Albrecht Dürer

1471 – Nuremberg – 1528

 

 

Der Liebesantrag – The Ill-Assorted Couple    ca. 1495–96

engraving; 150 x 137 mm (5 7/8 x 5 7/16 inches)

Bartsch 93; Meder 77 I.b-c (of III); Schoch/Mende/Scherbaum

provenance

Gilhofer & Ranschburg, Lucerne

Carl and Rose Hirschler, geb. Dreyfus, Haarlem (Lugt 633a), acquired in August 1924;

thence by descent

exhibition

B.L.D. Ihle/J.C. Ebbinge Wubben, Prentkunst van Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Dürer, Israhel van Meckenem. Uit eene particuliere verzameling, exhibition catalogue,Museum Boijmans, Rotterdam, 1955, p. 17, no. 22

A very good impression, showing the vertical scratch in front of the horse but not the one above the head of the man; in excellent condition with the platemark visible all round.

 

Le Peintre de marine –The Seascape Painter

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Buhot_LePeintredeMarine (2)

 

Félix Buhot

1847 Valogne – Paris 1898

Le Peintre de marine –The Seascape Painter, c. 1879

etching on laid paper; 129 x 207 mm (5 1/8 x 8 2/8 inches)

with the artist’s stamp (Lugt 977) in the lower margin of the plate below the image

 

Bourcard/Goodfriend 146 third state (of four)

 

provenance

possibly Henrietta Buhot (there are two pencil inscriptions on the recto and verso: coll. HB)

private collection, France;

its sale, Paul Renaud, Paris, October 25, 1985, lot 55 (a detail of this print illustrated on the cover of the catalogue; the impressions in this collection of prints by Buhot were all stamped on the verso with a triangular blue stamp with the letters fb; not in Lugt)

A superb, rich impressions of this rare print; on a pristinely preserved sheet with wide margins (deckled edges at right and below).

Glow of the City

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Lewis-GlowOfTheCityBig

Martin Lewis (1881-1962), Glow of the City1929, Drypoint

McCarron 77. Edition 110, including 4 trial proofs. Signed in pencil. Annotated Trial Proof No 2 in pencil and numbered 2 at the bottom right sheet edge.Signed in the plate, lower right.

Image size 13 3/4 x 9 7/8 inches (350 x 251 mm); sheet size 17 5/8 x 12 7/8 inches (448 x 327 mm).

A superb, richly inked, luminous impression, in dark brown ink, on cream wove paper, with full margins (1 3/4 to 1 7/8 inches).

Lewis, here at the height of his technical virtuosity, has created a beautifully nuanced image, at once dramatic and intimate. Awarded the Print Club of Philadelphia’s Charles M. Lea Prize in 1930, many consider this to be the artist’s most important work.

“The dark steeple beyond the tenements rose from a church that once stood at the Manahattan entrance of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. The Art Deco skyscraper in the distance with illuminated upper floors, is the 1929 Chanin Building, designed by Slaon and Robertson, which stands at the corner of Forty-second Street and Lexington Avenue…The Chanin building had a very dramatic impact on the New York City skyline because it did not yet compete with taller neighbors like the Chrysler Building, completed in 1930.” –McCarron

Collections: ACM, AIC, AMP, BMNY, BPL, CAM, CU, DIA, LC, MAC, MMA, MOMA, NAM, NGA, NMAA, OC, PMA, SU, YU.

 

Mala Noche

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

 

DSCF8149

Francisco Jose de Goya (1746-1828), Mala Noche, etching and burnished aquatint, 1799,Plate 36 from the First Edition of Los Caprichos. Harris 71, Delteil 73. [titled and numbered 36 in upper right, in the plate] On soft strong laid paper, printed in warm sepia. In very good condition. With full margins, 7 1/2 x 5 1/4, the sheet 12 1/4 x 8 1/8 inches. 

A fine early impression, with the highlights on the figures contrasting brilliantly with the aquatint, a characteristic of the earliest impressions of this plate.

Goya’s commentary: Gadabout girls who don’t want to stay home, risk exposing themselves to these hardships.

Tantalo

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Goya – Tantalo

Francisco Jose de Goya (1746-1828), Tantalo, etching and burnished aquatint, 1799, Plate 9 from the First Edition of Los Caprichos; Harris 44, Delteil 46, with the title lower margin, no. 9 upper right, on laid paper in light sepia ink. In good condition apart from scattered foxing recot, a thin spot near lower right margin edge far from image, 205 x 150 mm.

A fine balanced impression, the the two subtle aquatint tones printing quite effectively (in the later printings the stronger aquatint weakens considerably, at which point the contrasts – here quite clear – are lost).

Goya’s commentary: If he were a better lover and less of a bore, she would revive.

 

 

Old Squaws

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Roland Clark (1874-1957), Old Squaws, c. 1930,  drypoint, signed in pencil lower right, numbered (72) lower left, and titled lower center toward margin edge; from the edition of 75. In good condition, with margins (moderate light staining, remains of prior hinging upper corners), 2 3/4 x 7, the sheet 6 1/8 x 10 inches.

A fine impression of this iconic Clark composition.

Roland Clark’s grandson, Roland B. Clark, M.D., provides this biographical sketch of the artist on a website devoted to Clark’s art: “Roland Clark was born in New Rochelle, New York in 1874. He graduated from the William Kellogg School in New York City, then pursued his formal art training studying drawing and painting at the Art Students League. In the early 1920’s he began to create the etchings that were to bring him national and international acclaim. His contemporaries held him in such high regard that he was asked to create the U.S. Federal duck stamp design in 1938.

In addition to his legendary etchings he created numerous renowned oil paintings, watercolors, and aquatints. He was also a prolific writer of sporting articles, short stories, and poems. Stray Shots was his first autobiographical collection of stories and essays, published in 1931, and illustrated with thirteen original etchings. It has become one of the most valued sporting books of all time. Stray Shots was followed by the beautifully illustrated Gunner’s Dawn in 1937, and Pot Luck in 1945.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wave, Moonrise

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Bror Julius Olsson NORDFELDT (American 1878 – 1955)

The Wave, Moonrise; 1906

Donovan 19. Color woodcut on thin cream laid paper.
Signed and dated in pencil, also inscribed with the number 24, upper left. In very good condition.
9 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches.

A fine impression of this rare woodcut.  Nordfeldt’s numbering system appears to be related to the total number of prints he made, not the number of impressions made of each print.

Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt was born in Sweden, moving at the age of 14 with his family to the United States, settling in Chicago. In 1896 he began studies at the Art Institute of Chicago while working as a typesetter on the Swedish newspaper, “Hemlandet”. At the Art Institute, he studied with Frederick Richardson and John H. Vanderpool. Nordfeldt traveled to Paris in 1900 to study at the Académie Julian and in 1901 he studied woodblock printing in Oxford, England with F. Morley Fletcher. He returned to Sweden to live and work in Jonstorp, a village on the Western coast.  After 1903 Nordfeldt lived in Chicago, then in Paris, San Francisco during WWI (where he supervised the camouflaging of merchant ships!), then Santa Fe and a host of other U.S. locations ending up in scenic Lambertville, New Jersey where he died in 1955.  The Wave, Moonrise, was created in one of the most fertile periods of Nordfeldt’s career, when under the strong influence of both modernism and Japonisme.

 

Blair Hall – Princeton

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

 

Owen Selwyn (?), Blair Hall, Princeton, etching with plate tone, c. 1925, signed in pencil lower right. Printed in brownish/black ink on cream laid paper, in good condition (slight light staining), with margins, 8 7/8 x 6 7/8, the sheet 12 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches.

A fine impression, a well crafted etching in the British Etching Revival tradition, by an unknown (to me!) artist.

Three Pines

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Gustave Baumann – Three Pines

Gustave BAUMANN American (1881 – 1971), Three Pines, 1925, color woodcut, signed, titled and dated 56; with the artists hand in heart stamp. Printed on cream laid paper with a tree (?) watermark, from the edition of 50 printed in 1956.  In very good condition, with full margins; 11 x 9 1/2, the sheet 17 x 14 inches.

A fine impression, the colors vivid and fresh.

This is a view of Estes Park, Colorado.

 

The Baptism of the Eunuch

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Rembrandt Harmensz. Van Rijn (1606-1669), The Baptism of the Eunuch, etching and drypoint, 1641 (signed and dated in the plate). References: Bartsch 98, Hind 182, second state (of 2); Nowell-Usticke’s second state (e) (of 4).  In good condition, trimmed on the platemark all around, 6 11/16 x 8 3/8 inches (170 x 213 mm).

A fine, clear and early impression of this lightly etched plate.

On laid paper with a Foolscap With Seven-Pointed Collar, Hinterding’s C-a-a watermark (page 256, Rembrandt as an Etcher, Catalogue of Watermarks, volume 3, page 256). Hinterding identifies a number of Rembrandt lifetime impressions with this watermark including The Omval (B. 209 ii(2),National Gallery of Art); The Blindness of Tobit (B. 42i(2) Metropolitan Museum of Art); and also a number of impressions with closely related watermarks (cf. Hinterding, op. cit., volume II, p. 140 et. seq.).

The lifetime or early dating of this impression is further substantiated since it is before the appearance of the sharp diagonal  scratch to the right of the head of the standing man, said by Nowell-Eusticke, to be introduced in the Basan impressions.  But Nicholas Stogdon, describing a “near-contemporary” impression of this print notes “According to Nowell-Usticke the sharp diagonal scratch to the right of St. Philip’s head first appears in the P.G Basan edition; this can hardly be the case as it is already present in this near-contemporary impression (the papermaker is recorded as active in the 1680’s).” (Indeed, we have found this scratch on virtually all the impressions of this print to have appeared on the market in recent years.)

The story of the baptism of the eunuch is from Acts 8:26-39. While walking along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, St. Philip is compelled by the spirit of God to accompany the passing entourage of the Treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch serving under Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. Philip joins them and preaches to the official and his servants, and when they come to a small body of water the eunuch asks Philip to baptize him.

 

 

 

Alla Va Eso (There it Goes)

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Alla Va Eso (There It Goes), etching, drypoint and aquatint, 1799, plate 66 from Los Caprichos, First Edition (of 12). References: Delteil 103, Harris 101. In very good condition, with margins, 8 1/8 x 6 1/2, the sheet 10 3/4 x 7 7/8 inches.

A very good impression. Printed in a warm sepia ink on fine quality, soft but strong laid paper.

This is printed with a fine grain aquatint, in one pale tone. The lighter areas such as the legs and stomach, arms and face of the figure in front, and the face of the cat, stand in contrast to the slightly darker aquatint elsewhere.  These contrasting areas of tone are lost in the later impressions.

In the drawing for this print Goya wrote: “Dream. A witch instructress giving a first flying lesson to her pupil” and below wrote “Witches practicing”. Goya’s commentary on this: “There goes a witch, riding on the little crippled devil. This poor devil, of whom everyone makes fun, is not without his uses at times.”

 

Under The Bridge

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Lozowick – Under the Bridge

 

Louis Lozowick (1892-1973), Under the Bridge, lithograph, 1930, Flint 75, edition 20 (10 additional impressions 1972), signed, numbered, titled and numbered 15 in pencil. A fine, rich impression from the first edition (the 1930 edition, before the 1972 edition), with full margins (11/16 to 1 5/8 inches), on cream wove paper, in excellent condition. Printed by George C. Miller. Plate cancelled. Collection: NMAA

An iconic precisionist image.

Image size 14 x 8 inches (356 x 203 mm), sheet size 15 3/4 x 11 1/4 inches (400 x  286 mm)

 

Effet de Pluie – Effects of Rain 1879

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Camille Pissarro – Effet de Pluie, 1879, second state (of 6)

Camille Pissarro
1830 St. Thomas – Éragny-sur-Epte 1903

Effet de Pluie – Effects of Rain   1879

pure aquatint on gray Japanese paper; 160 x 215 mm (6 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches)
inscribed in pencil below imprimé par Degas pour Pisarro (sic) 1er etat

Delteil 24 second state (of six)

comparative literature
Barbara Stern Shapiro, Camille Pissarro. The Impressionist Printmaker, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1973, nos. 15–17 (states ii, iv, and vi); second, fourth, and sixth state); Nicole Minder, Degas & Pissarro: alchimie d’un rencontre, exhibition catalogue, Cabinet Cantonal des Estampes, Musée Jenisch, Vevey/Musée du Québec/The Israel Museum, Jerusalem 1998–99, Vevey 1998, cat. nos. 38–39 (states iii and iv).

There are some corrections to the list of known impressions recorded in the reprint of Delteil: We are able to trace two impressions of the first state (Bremen and formerly with C.G. Boerner [Neue Lagerliste 123, 2007, no. 37], now Minneapolis, but not Oxford); there is a second state in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, part of the Orovida Pissarro collection, printed on grayish paper, and another in the Yale University Art Gallery; to these, this impression, previously unrecorded, has to be added; there are two impressions of the third state (private collection in Switzerland and Frankfurt); two impressions of the fourth are in private collections (Switzerland and New York), the latter like ours annotated imprimé par Degas, as well as in Oxford and Philadelphia; there is one impression of the fifth state in Berlin.

Inspired by Degas and in anticipation of the new print journal Le jour et la nuit, Pissarro took up printmaking with a new enthusiasm in 1879. Like Degas and Cassatt, he experimented widely. The heavy, card-like wove paper of this early working proof matches the paper used by Degas for prints made at the same time. In the first two states Pissarro is laying the sort of liquid aquatint ground that Bracquemond had encouraged Degas to try, fully avoiding any use of drypoint or etching as a guide (the marks on the plate are either from polishing or accidents). The artist did not begin to articulate the composition with delicate drypoint lines before the third state; by the final state, etching and vernis mou (soft-ground), a metal brush and emery paper have all been employed in creating the composition.

This is a quintessential Impressionist print in an early stage of creation.

The Lamp

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

 

Mary Cassatt – The Lamp

 

MARY STEVENSON CASSATT (1844–1926)
The Lamp, 1890–91
Drypoint, soft-ground etching, and aquatint, printed in colors, inked à la poupée, on laid paper, 12 9/16  x 9 15/16 in.

Signed and inscribed (at lower center): [artist’s monogram stamp]; (at lower right): Imprimee par l’artiste et M. Leroy / Mary Cassatt / (25 épreuves); (in a different hand, at lower right margin): La Femme a l’Eventail, sous la lampe).  Edition of 25. Fourth and final state

RECORDED: cf. Adelyn Dohme Breeskin, Mary Cassatt: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Graphic Work (1979), pp. 22, 62–63 no. 144, 141 illus. in color // cf. Nancy Mowll Mathews and Barbara Stern Shapiro, Mary Cassatt: The Color Prints, exhib. cat. (Williamstown, Massachusetts: Williams College Museum of Art, 1989–90), pp. 111–15 no. 6 illus. in color

A dedicated printmaker, Mary Cassatt produced more than two hundred aquatints, etchings, drypoints, and lithographs over a period of thirty years. The Lamp is part of a series of ten color prints that she executed, with the help of M. LeRoy, a professional printer, in 1890-91. Although Cassatt frequently based prints on her earlier paintings and pastels, the ten color prints are remarkable not only for their original compositions but also for their appropriation of Japanese printmaking styles. The making of these prints was extremely labor intensive, as it relied on a combination of a number of printmaking techniques, including drypoint, etching, and aquatint. In her catalogue raisonné of Cassatt’s graphic work, Adelyn Breeskin notes: These prints were her next great triumph and one which would give her claim to fame if they were her sole accomplishment. They are indeed her most original contribution, adding a new chapter to the history of the graphic arts and, as color prints, have never since been surpassed (Breeskin, op. cit., p. 21). Moreover, Breeskin notes that this suite of prints was especially novel not only because of their japonisme, but because she gave the models themselves Japanese features. Furthermore:

In The Lamp (no. 144), the table and its ornaments are more Oriental than European. Such details are not copied. They are not even borrowed directly. They are the result of such thorough study and understanding that they are absorbed into the artist’s feeling and thought and thereby become a part of her own expression (Breeskin, op. cit., p. 22).

Though The Lamp and the other color prints Cassatt executed concurrently were revolutionary in Western art, they failed to receive correspondingly strong critical acclaim. These prints were shown, along with works by her friend Camille Pissarro, in 1891 at Durand-Ruel in Paris, and again at Durand-Ruel’s New York gallery later that year. Neither show was successful, as very few of the prints were sold. Despite these setbacks, Cassatt remained encouraged by the support of a few friends, critics, and collectors. Cassatt produced several additional color prints of advanced technique over the next few years. Today, they are considered among the finest prints in American art, a fitting tribute to Cassatt’s radical approach and determination.

Of the ten color prints Cassatt showed at the Durand-Ruel galleries, The Lamp is perhaps the one that most reveals Cassatt’s debt to Japanese prints. According to Nancy Mowll Mathews and Barbara Stern Shapiro, “this interpretation of a woman ‘at home’ is unique and may reflect the common Japanese device of showing a woman’s neck from behind, highlighting this oriental symbol of beauty” (op. cit., p. 111). The Lamp also demonstrates Cassatt’s growing mastery of the aquatint technique. The evolution of the print’s composition is slight, with only a few minor changes from the first to the fourth and final state (ibid., pp. 112-13 figs. 6-I, 6-II, 6-III, and 6-IV illus. in color). Earlier prints in her series of color aquatints required as many as seventeen states for the artist to be satisfied. In The Lamp, Cassatt, having settled on the composition early on, was able to embark on a remarkable exploration of color printing, in which she used the aquatint technique on all three plates used to make the final print. By the final state, of which the present print is an example, Cassatt had carefully reworked each color region to avoid overlap and maximize the crispness of line. The result is one of most dynamic and colorful of her series of prints, a true masterpiece in American printmaking.

[Untitled]

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Jacques Lipschitz (1891-1973), Leda and the Swan, 1947, etching, three states. Reference: Bibliotheque Nationale Inventaire du Fonds Francais, p. 358.  In very good condition.

Fine strong impressions of three progressive states, including the final state.

The last state of this etching was created in an edition of 50 for loose insertion in the édition de tête copies of the book Lipschitz, a monograph on the sculpture of Jacques Lipchitz from 1911 to 1945 with a prefatory essay by Maurice Raynal (Paris. Editions Jeanne Bucher. 1947. Folio. pp. 18. Monochrome frontispiece reproducing Modigliani’s portrait of Lipchitz and his wife (‘Portrait de Jacques Lipchitz et sa Femme’) and 71 monochrome plates (‘similigravure’) of sculptures by Lipchitz after photographs by Marc Vaux and Colten)

 

 

Nu, Époque du Chapeau Jaune

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Nu, Époque du Chapeau Jaune, 1929, etching in black on grey/tan Chine-collé on heavy cream wove with deckle edges all around, signed, titled and numbered in pencil lower right [also signed and inscribed in the plate lower right]. Reference:  Duthuit 220, only state. In excellent condition, 9 7/8 x 5, the sheet 14 3/4 x 11 1/8 inches.

A fine warm impresssion.

In his small edition etchings and drypoints Matisse displayed a mastery of draftsmanship unmatched in modernist printmaking. Nu, Époque du Chapeau Jaune is a splendid example of Matisse’s genius.

Etudes

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Matisse – Etudes

 

Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Etudes, 1932, etching in black on grey/tan Chine-collé on heavy cream wove, signed and titled in pencil lower right. Reference:  Duthuit Books p. 33 (Studies for Matisse’s illustration designs for Stéphane Mallarmé’s Poésies). In very good condition, the full sheet, 9 1/2 x 5 1/2, the sheet 14 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches.

A fine impression of this rare page of studies. The sheet consists of a half-dozen nudes in various degrees of definition, and two portraits at the lower left, one a face, the other a woman in a hat and dress with a fan (in the final book the woman with the fan is featured alone in a similar posture, but in reverse).

Poetry was an important source of inspiration for Matisse, and for years he maintained the practice of reading poetry early each day before he raised a paint brush, pencil or etching needle.  In his lifetime he produced a number of illustrated books which were known as “livre d’artiste” (artist’s book);  Poésies, of 1932, with mythologically inspired images based on texts by Stéphane Mallarmé, was his first such venture.

 

Fuerte cosa es! – That’s tough!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Francisco Goya – That’s Tough – Proof

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746 Fuendetodos – Bordeaux 1828), Fuerte cosa es! – That’s tough!    ca. 1808–1814, etching, burnished aquatint, and drypoint on laid paper; 155 x 203 mm (6 1/16 x 8 inches), Harris 151.I.3 (of III.7)

watermark: Serra

provenance
Infante Don Sebastian de Borbón y Braganza
Georges Provôt, Paris;
his sale, Hôtel Drouot, April 10, 1935, lot 60
private collection, Germany

Proof impression for plate 31 of Los Desastres de la Guerra, with the earlier number 32 in the lower left corner, before additional drypoint work and border lines.

No impression of state I.1 (before the aquatint) is known and only one impression (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale) of state I.2 (before any numbers). Harris list lists eight impressions of state I.3, including this one.

Goya’s Desastres was conceived in three phases. One group depicts scenes from the famine that raged in Madrid in the winter of 1811–12 as a result of the French occupation. Another group was created between 1820 and 1823, a late addition to the set and mainly consisting of more allegorical scenes. The two prints presented here belong to the earliest and largest group of prints, etched between 1808 and 1814. These images present the most direct reflection of the effects and cruelties of the war with France.

The grim-looking mamelouck fighter is about to return his saber to its sheath. One of his fellow French soldiers tugs at the boots of one of the two corpses hanging from the tree on the right. Behind him another soldier is apparently attacking a woman. Goya’s title here can only be cynical.

 

 

 

 

 

No se puede saber por qué – One can’t tell why

Monday, October 1st, 2012

 

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746 Fuendetodos – Bordeaux 1828),  No se puede saber por qué  – One can’t tell why    ca. 1808–1814,  etching, burnished aquatint, drypoint, and burin on laid paper; 155 x 203 mm (6 1/8 x 8 inches),  Harris 155.I.2 (of III.7)

provenance

Infante Don Sebastian de Borbón y Braganza

Georges Provôt, Paris; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, April 10, 1935, lot 64

Tomás Harris, London (not in Lugt)

private collection, Germany

A fine, rich proof impression for plate 35 of Los Desastres de la Guerra, before numbers, letters, and before additional drypoint and burin work.

No impression of state I.1 (before the aquatint) is known nor are any proof impressions with numbers (Harris’ hypothetical state I.3) known. Harris lists nine impressions of state I.2, including this one.  This is a lifetime impression; the edition was published posthumously.

No less than eight convicts are about to be garroted. Each man clutches a crucifix—a sign that they have already made their last confession. Their crime—ownership of a weapon— is announced on placards hanging around their necks, alongside the weapons themselves. Many Spanish citizens were executed this way. Their crimes were not only murder and armed robbery; suspicion of espionage for the insurgents or any other support for them was sufficient to subject the accused to this cruel fate.

An impression from the First Edition is shown below, for comparison purposes (this impression is also available)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ in Limbo

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

 

Durer - Christ in Limbo

 

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), Christ in Limbo (Harrowing of Hell), woodcut, 1510, Bartsch 14, an impression just after the 1511 edition of The Large Passion, 15 5/8 x 11 ¼ inches, on old laid paper with a Crest of Augsburg related watermark (cf. Meder 180, Briquet 2110, dated c. 1486-1583; also similar to Augsburg arms, Meder 177). In excellent condition, with borders all around, usual horizontal printer’s crease across center.

An exceptionally well printed impression of this iconic image.

The legend can be found in the Apocryphal text, the Gospel of Nicodemus. After his Resurrection Jesus descended into Hell and led the just, the patriarchs, the prophets of the Old Testament and Adam and Eve, into the light. Later a clarity was introduced that all of them were not in Hell, but in the bordering region, Limbo (from the Latin word limbus, a hem); it was taught that because they lived and died before the Christ’s self-sacrifice for peoples redemption, they were put in the lower place until such time when Jesus could liberate them.  The story was later retold in the Golden Legend.

The Christ in Limbo may be the first (of four) of Durer’s woodcuts executed in 1510 to complete the Large Passion series.  The earlier 7 prints of the series were made in 1497-1499, and were printed as single sheets  up to 1511 when an edition of the series was printed. This helps account for the particularly strong impression of the present print; the block was not nearly as worn by the 1511 printing as the earlier blocks were, and so subsequent printings of these newer blocks are stronger than those for the earlier blocks. The later blocks also tended to represent a more sophisticated approach to woodcutting, and were made by more skilled woodcutters.

 

 

 

Süssenborn (also Dorfkirche; Little Church)

Friday, August 17th, 2012

 

Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956,  Süssenborn (also Dorfkirche also Little Church)c. 1926, Woodcut. Prasse W253. One of only several proofs on Japan. Signed in pencil, lower left. Numbered 2401 (the artist’s inventory number), estate stamped and numbered W 420 in pencil, in the bottom right sheet corner.

Image size 5 3/8 x 5 3/4 inches (137 x 146 mm); sheet size 8 x 9 1/2 inches (203 x 241 mm).

A fine, black impression, on tissue-thin cream laid Japan, with full margins (1 1/8 to 2 inches), in excellent condition. One of only a few signed proofs before the published editions: 50 on Mino copy paper, of which 44 are unsigned; No. 10 of portfolio, 10 Holzschnitte von Lyonel Feininger (c.1926).

Süssenborn is a village near Weimar in Thuringia, central Germany.

Collections: Dresden, Middletown

 

The Procession of Silenus (after Raphael)

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Veneziano – Procession of Silenus

Agostino dei Musi (called Veneziano) (active 1514–1536), The Procession of Silenus (after Raphael)   ca. 1520–25 , engraving; 189 x 259 mm. Reference:
Bartsch, vol. 14, p. 192, no. 240. In excellent condition, laid at the reverse edges to an album sheet (Chatsworth), slight staining.

watermark
anchor in circle (similar to Briquet 495)

provenance
Dukes of Devonshire, Chatsworth;
their sale, Christie’s, London, December 5, 1985, lot 69

A suberb impression.

The figures of Silenus and his attendants are somewhat related to a Roman Sarcophagus at Woburn Abbey (formerly at the Villa Aldobrandi Frascati). This or a similar sarcophagus probably provided the source for the lost Raphael drawing on which this engraving is based.

The Adoration of the Shepherds (after Giulio Romano)

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Bonasone – Adoration of the Shepherds

 

Giulio Bonasone (c. 1510 – Bologna – after 1576), The Adoration of the Shepherds (after Giulio Romano)   ca. 1550–60, engraving; 271 x 431 mm. (10 9/16 x 16 15/16 inches). Reference:
Bartsch vol. 15, p. 118, no. 38; Massari 122; The Illustrated Bartsch, vol. 28, p. 242, no. 38

provenance
Sir Peter Lely (Lugt 2092)
Dukes of Devonshire, Chatsworth;
their sale, Christies, London 5th December 1985, lot 80
private collection, Germany; private collection, Chicago
C.G. Boerner, Neue Lagerliste 115, Düsseldorf/New York 2001, no. 17

There is a related drawing in the Gabinetto Nazionale delle Stampe, Rome, which has been variously attributed to Raphael, Perino and more recently to Giulio Romano. The design was also used by Agostino Veneziano for his Adoration of the Shepherds (Bartsch 17).

An extraordinarily fine early impression, with plate tone; vertical wiping lines distinct.

In excellent condition, trimmed along the plate mark and tipped down onto an album sheet at the corners (on the original album sheet from Chatsworth).

An Album Containing Fifty Cancelled Etchings and Drypoints ca. 1879

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Whistler - Rotherhithe (cancelled)

James Whistler (1834-1903),   An Album Containing Fifty Cancelled Etchings and Drypoints   ca. 1879

An unusual album of fifty cancelled etchings and drypoints, many known only in cancelled impressions, printed on laid paper, in a contemporary half-leather binding with gilded tooled spine, measuring 15 1/4 x 11 inches. Inscribed in pencil on the verso of the marbled front fly-leaf Whistler / 50 Cancelled etchings and extensively annotated in pencil throughout.

Whistler declared bankruptcy in May 1879 and was allowed by the receiver to destroy his unfinished work and deface his copperplates prior to the auction of his property in September of that year, just before he left for Venice. About one hundred of these plates were purchased at the auction by The Fine Art Society which then published a small edition (probably no more than twenty copies) of fifty-seven of the cancelled prints; this is titled Fifty-Seven Defaced Etchings and Drypoints by J.A. McNeil [sic] Whistler.

The present album includes forty-eight of the prints published in The Fine Art Society’s edition and two prints not in that volume. Many impressions are annotated with titles, references to the Wedmore catalogue, or other notes. It includes a number of hitherto unknown impressions, or prints very rare in pre-cancelled impressions; most are also rare in cancelled impressions.

These impressions are quite fine; it is probable that they served as proof impressions for other albums of cancelled etchings published during this period. The prints are generally in excellent condition; the drypoints typically have substantial burr.  Printed on ivory laid paper with the watermarks Van Gelder and crowned shield with fleur-de-lis and letters vgj; all with wide margins (sheets vary in size).

The prints included are:

  1. F.R. Leyland’s Mother, 1874–75, Kennedy 103
  2. Lady in an Arm-Chair, 1861,  K. 79, known only after cancellation
  3. August Delâtre, Printer; 1858–59, K. 26
  4. A Man Reading, 1873–77, K. 137, known only after cancellation
  5. Astruc, A Literary Man, 1859, K. 53
  6. Greenwich Pensioner, 1859, K. 34
  7. Fumette’s Bent Head, 1859, K. 57
  8. A Wharf, 1859, K. 48
  9. Arthur Haden, 1859, K. 61
  10. Portrait of Whistler, 1859, K. 54, signed in pencil
  11. Mr. Mann, 1860, K. 63
  12. Rotherhithe, 1860, K. 66, not included in The Fine Art Society’s set
  13. Axenfeld, 1860, K. 64
  14. Riault, the Engraver, 1860, K. 65
  15. The Open Book, 1861, K. 84, known only after cancellation
  16. Jo, 1861, K. 77
  17. Landscape with a Fisherman, 1861, K. 83, known only after cancellation
  18. F.R. Leyland, K. 102, 1874–75, only a few impressions before cancellation
  19. Encamping, 1861, K. 82, very rare before cancellation
  20. Battersea Reach, 1863, K. 90, known only after cancellation
  21. The Toilet, 1863, K. 93, known only after cancellation
  22. Sketch of Heads, 1875, K. 104, very rare before cancellation
  23. Steamboat Fleet, 1875–77, K. 156, very rare before cancellation
  24. Irving as Philip of Spain, No. 2, 1876–77, K. 171
  25. Elinor Leyland, 1874, K. 109
  26. A Girl with Large Eyes, 1875, K. 131
  27. A Lady at a Window, 1875–77, K. 138, very rare before cancellation
  28. The Silk Dress, 1875, K. 107, only a few impressions known before cancellation
  29. Lady Standing, not found in Kennedy, but found in The Fine Art Society’s set
  30. Nude Figure Posing, 1874–75, K. 127, known only after cancellation
  31. Under Old Battersea Bridge, 1876–78, K. 176
  32. A Child on a Couch, No. 1, K.124, known only after cancellation
  33. Shipping at Liverpool, 1867, K. 94, very rare before cancellation
  34. The Little Velvet Dress, 1873, K. 106
  35. The Beach, 1875–78, K. 116
  36. Agnes, 1875–78, K. 134
  37. Swinburne, 1873–77, K. 136
  38. The Piano, 1875–77, K. 141
  39. The Scotch Widow, 1875–76, K. 142
  40. Speke Shore, 1875, K. 144
  41. Shipbuilder’s Yard, 1875, K. 146
  42. London Bridge, 1877, K. 153
  43. Sketch of Ships, 1859, K. 151, only one impression known before cancellation
  44. The Troubled Thames, K. 152
  45. A Sketch from Billingsgate, 1876–77, K. 168
  46. The Thames toward Erith, 1877, K. 165
  47. Lindsey Houses, 1876–77, K. 166
  48. From Pickle-Herring Stairs, 1876–77, K. 167
  49. Nude Girl Standing, 1873–78, K. 128, known only ae
  50. Irving as Philip of Spain, No. 1, K. 170, not included in The Fine Art Society’s set, very rare prior to or after cancellation.

La Romance

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

 

Marie Laurencin – La Romance

Marie Laurencin (1883-1956), La Romance. 1912, etching, signed, numbered (12/25) and dated in pencil, also inscribed  by the artist with three lines of an Apollinaire manuscript, in very good condition with full margins, 197 x 250 mm, 9 7/8 x 8 3/4, the sheet 16 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches. Reference: Marchesseau 22, from the edition of 25 proofs.

A fine fresh impression, with plate tone, printed on cream laid paper; a rare early Laurencin proof.

During the early years of the 20th century, Laurencin was an important figure in the Parisian avant-garde, a friend of Georges Braque and a member of the circle of Picasso. She became romantically involved with Picasso’s friend, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, and has often been identified as his muse.

 

Marie at the Window

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Childe Hassam – Marie at the Window

 

Childe Hassam (1859-1935), Marie at the Window, etching and drypoint, 1923. Signed with the cypher and inscribed “imp” in pencil [also with initials and date in the plate, lower right]. Cortissoz/Clayton 230, only state. In very good condition, the matrix immaculate (evidence of toning verso, platemark reinforced upper left verso), printed on a cream wove paper, 10 7/8 x 7, the sheet 13 1/4 x 9 1/2 inches.

A fine impression of this great rarity.

Made from the model in the artist’s New York apartment.  In 1923, the year Marie at the Window was etched, Hassam was already world-renowned, known as America’s great impressionist painter and etcher (his career as an etcher began in earnest relatively late, about eight years earlier).

Marie at the Window is one of several Hassam compositions done in the tradition of Japonisme, showing an interior of patterned surfaces and a single contemplative woman, generally lost in contemplation. This theme was a favorite of turn-of-the-century “Quietists” such as Thomas Wilmer Dewing, his close friend J. Alden Weir, and of course Marie Cassatt.

Up and Going

Monday, May 21st, 2012

G e r a l d K . G e e r l i n g s 1 8 9 7 – 1 9 9 8

Up and Going 1931, Etching and Aquatint.

Czestochowski 22. Edition 40. Signed and titled in pencil.

Image size 11 15/16 x 7 3/8 inches (303 x 187 mm); sheet size 16 7/8 x 11 1/8 inches (429 x 283 mm).

A superb, atmospheric impression, in dark sepia ink, on pale green laid paper, with full margins ( 1 13/16 to 2 3/8 inches), in excellent condition.

Over half of the edition of this iconic print is known to be in major public institutions; impressions are thus rarely found on the print market. Collections include: AIA, AIC, BM, BPL, CH, GC, GKG, IMA, LACM, MHC, MM, MMA, MPL, NYPL, PMA, PRIN, UI, UPAA, UW, UWM, VA.

Up and Going contrasts straightforward precisionist structures – the buildings at the right – with ominous symbolist-like imagery – the rising clouds of smoke; it thus seems to depict both the optimism of early 20th Century America and the concerns and forebodings of the Great Depression era.

Gerald Geerlings studied architecture after service in WWI, and became an architect in New York, working with several firms including York and Sawyer, and then on his own. He also studied printmaking in his early years as an architect, at the Royal College of Art in London. He made prints during two periods: from 1926-33, and again after 1975.  His later work, in lithography typically with hand colored pastel, is quite beautiful, but his earlier striking citiscapes, now rare, are perhaps most highly sought after by today’s collectors.

 

 

 

Ya van Desplumados (There They Go Plucked, i.e., Fleeced), Plate 20 Los Caprichos

Monday, May 7th, 2012

 

Goya – Ya Van Desplumados

 

Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Ya van Desplumados (There They Go Plucked, i.e., Fleeced), etching, burnished aquatint and drypoint,  1799. Reference: Harris 55, Delteil 57; plate 20 from Los Caprichos, The First Edition (of 12). In  good condition, with margins (soiling in margins, remains of binding holes at left;  8 1/2 x 6, the sheet 12 x 7 7/8 inches.

A very good impression, printed in sepia on soft but strong laid paper, as specified by Harris for the First Edition impressions. Printed in two shades of aquatint, one very pale, the other darker. This can be seen perhaps most vividly at the bottom of the composition; also compare the wings of the bird at top to the background. The drypoint touches on the faces of the two “bird-men” at the lower left are quite clear, as are the flecks on the right leg of the bird-man at the right.

After the impressions of the First Edition (about 300) the Caprichos was printed posthumously in 11 additional editions, none of which are comparable in quality to the lifetime impressions.

Goya’s commentary on this print: If they have already been plucked, get them out: there will be others coming along. (Perhaps a version of P.T. Barnum’s “There’s a sucker born every minute.”)

 

Sheet of Studies: Head of Rembrandt, Beggars, etc.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606-1669), Sheet of Studies: Head of the Artist, A Beggar Couple, etching, c. 1632, etching. References: Bartsch 363, Hollstein (White and Boon) 363, second state (of 2); Usticke’s first state (early) (of 4); Bjorklund 32-1In generally good condition, with small margins, 4 x 4 1/4 inches, with a partial Arms of Amsterdam watermark watermark (Ash/Fletcher 1).

Provenance: Oval stamp (not identified in Lugt); Initials in ink (W [Wilson?]; D) also not identified in Lugt.

A fine crisp impression, very rare particularly in an impression of this quality; the plate for this print is not known to have existed after Rembrandt’s death.

 

 

 

Derricks at Night

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Martin Lewis – Derricks at Night

Martin Lewis (1882-1962), Derricks at Night, drypoint, 1927. McCarron 62, second state (of 2), intended edition 100, 104 printed. Signed in pencil; also signed in the plate, lower right.  In excellent condition (evidence of prior hinging upper corners,

Image size 7 7/8 x 11 7/8 inches, sheet size 11 1/4 x 15 /7/8 inches.

Provenance: Estate of Delores D. DiPaola; also with the Kennedy stock number verso.

A superb, atmospheric impression in warm black ink, with rich burr, on cream laid paper.

Illustrated in Contemporary American Etching, American Art Dealers Association, New York, 1930.

Derricks at Night is one of the few Lewis prints having more than one state; the composition was substantially set in the first state but small adjustments in many areas were made for a second state (e.g., “wooden slat below globe of lamp defined; bracket holding streetlight strengthened”, etc.).

Derricks at night is one of Lewis’s great Precisionist works, seemingly also demonstrating a cubist sensibility.

Rainy Day, Queens

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Martin Lewis – Rainy Day, Queens

Martin Lewis (1881-1962), Rainy Day, Queens, drypoint, 1931, signed in pencil lower right [also signed in the plate lower right]. Reference: McCarron 94, only state, from the edition of about 70. In very good condition (the slightest toning upper margin edge), the full sheet, 10 5/8 x 11 7/8, the sheet 14 1/4 x 15 1/2 inches.

Provenance:

ex Collection: Delores D. DiPaola

Kennedy Galleries (with their stock data in pencil, recto and verso)

A fine rich impression of this iconic image, printed in black ink on an ivory wove paper.

Lewis described this location as “Skillman Ave. Queens”; it is probably at the intersection of Skillman Avenue and 49th Street.

Martin Lewis was interested in Japanese art early in his career, and in 1920 visited Japan, where he stayed for nearly two years.  Rainy Day, Queens owes much to this influence: the careful placement of compositional elements, for example, and the atmospheric effects of rain, frequently found in Japanese prints and in Lewis’s Japan-based prints (e.g., Fishing Boats in the Rain, M. 41, and Showers on the Bay, M. 46).

Nocturne: Furnace

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Whistler – Nocturne Furnace

 

James A.M. Whistler (1834-1903), Nocturne: Furnaces, etching and drypoint, 1879-80, signed with the butterfly on the tab and inscribed “imp”. References: Kennedy 213, Glasgow 208, eleventh state (of 12), published in the Second Venice Set. In generally good condition (repaired thin spots upper right and a tiny spot lower right), trimmed by the artist on the platemark except for the tab, 6 5/8 x 9 1/8 inches.

A fine impression, printed in a dark brown/black ink on ivory laid paper. This impression has been meticulously wiped by the artist, generally from the center outward thus illuminating the central furnace and figure; the wiping lines lend a luminous quality to the impression.  The entire right quadrant is left rather dark, as is the area surrounding the furnace, and the areas below the furnace and to the upper left are lighter and shadowy.

In this impression the man within the furnace area holding the tool is clearly illuminated, and we can still see the wooden ceiling of the furnace room. A gondola is in the canal at the left, with a shadow on the water; also shadows from the wall fall on the canal. The figure in the window at the upper left is also rather clearly detailed. The myriad of etching and drypoint lines, together with the heavy layering of plate tone, give the composition a somber atmospheric quality.

$12,000

 

 

 

Shere Mill Pond, No. II

Monday, March 5th, 2012

 

 

Francis Seymour Haden (16 September 1818 – 1 June 1910), Shere Mill Pond, No. II, etching and drypoint, 1860, signed in pencil lower right. Reference: Schneiderman 37, sixth state(of 9). Published in Etudes a L’eau-forte.  In adequate condition (repaired hole in sky upper left), the full sheet, 7 x 13 1/8, the sheet 8 1/8 x 13 3/4 inches.

A very good impression, with much burr from the drypoint work, on laid paper.

Shere Mill Pond was considered one of the early high marks of the British Etching Revival movement. Malcolm Salaman wrote of this print in 1923:

"But it was in 1860...that the Shere Mill Pond was done, that plate which, with its tenderly expressive charm
of a still pool reflecting all its sheltering greenery under the calmest of summer skies, and scarcely disturbed even by the
sudden flutter of a water-fowl, Hamerton was tempted to describe as "with the single exception of one plate by Claude (Le Bouvier),
the finest etching of a landscape subject that has ever been executed in the world "—praise that I agree with Wedmore in
regarding as extravagant."

(We might agree today that although this praise is indeed extravagant, Shere Mill Pond, No. II does have lasting charm.)

 

Showers on the Bay

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Martin Lewis - Showers on the Bay

Martin Lewis (1881-1962), Showers on the Bay, 1925, drypoint and sand ground, signed lower right [also signed in the plate lower right]. Reference: McCarron 46, second state (of 2). One of 23  recorded impressions, including a trial proof. In excellent condition, the full sheet, 7 7/8 x 11 3/4 inches.

Provenance: Estate of Lucile Deming Lewis (pencil inscription verso). Lucile Deming, a social worker who had come from Wisconsin to New York in 1914, met Lewis shortly after his return to the city in 1922. Their first home was on Staten Island, then they rented a house in Greenwich Village, and in 1924 Lucile purchased the house next door at 111 Bedford Street; their son Martin Deming Lewis was born later that year.

A fine impression, printed in brown ink on cream laid paper.

Pacienta (Patience)

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Beham - Pacientia

 

Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550), Pacienta (Patience), engraving, 1540 [signed, dated, titled, and inscribed in the plate]. Reference: Bartsch 138, Pauli 141. In good condition, trimmed on or just inside the platemark, 4 1/8 x 2 13/16 inches.

Printed on laid paper with a partial Crest of Nuremberg, Small watermark (Meder watermark 210, Briquet 917); this watermark is found on a German drawing 1643 and Durer prints circa mid 16th Century.

Provenance: ex Collection Delores D. Di Paola (not in Lugt)

A fine impression of this interesting composition: Patience protects a lamb while a rather unattractive creature next to her seemingly contemplates the possibility that Patience will tire of this exercise, and let the lamb loose. But Patience being who she is, Creature will probably have a long wait.

 

Lady Godiva

Monday, January 9th, 2012

 

James Ensor (1860-1949), Lady Godiva, etching and drypoint, 1933, signed in pencil lower right and numbered (9/15) lower left margin. References: Croquez 130, Taevernier 130, Elesh 137, third state (of3). In good condition, on the full sheet with very wide margins (soft folds in margins, a repaired nick at right edge, 5 x 3 1/2, the sheet 12 3/4 x 11 inches.

A fine delicately printed impression, with burr on the drypoint especially on Lady Godiva and her horse’s hair.  Printed on a Holland laid paper.

There are two paintings related to this print, one done before the print (collection of Mrs. Harry C. Sandhouse, New York, Tricot 559, 1927), and another after (Tricot 728, 1937, location unknown).

According to the legend (as related in Wikipedia),Lady Godiva was an 11th century Anglo-Saxon who “took pity on the people of Coventry, who were suffering grievously under her husband’s oppressive taxation. Lady Godiva appealed again and again to her husband, who obstinately refused to remit the tolls. At last, weary of her entreaties, he said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, she rode through the town, clothed only in her long hair. Just one person in the town, a tailor ever afterwards known as Peeping Tom, disobeyed her proclamation in one of the most famous instances of voyeurism. In the story, Tom bores a hole in his shutters so that he might see Godiva pass, and is struck blind. In the end, Godiva’s husband keeps his word and abolishes the onerous taxes.

In Ensor’s version, there are a number of Peeping Toms in the town,  some with rather large noses and indeed, the figure peering through the shutters at the lower right might well be an elephant.  The town resembles Ostend; indeed it appears to be the view of Boulevard Van Iseghem from Ensor’s studio.

$4400

 

 

 

 

Longshoremen

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

James Whistler (1834-1903), Longshoremen, etching and drypoint, 1859 [signed and dated in the plate]. References: Glasgow 52, fourth state (of 4), Kennedy 45. In excellent condition, with margins, 5 15/16 x 8 3/4, the sheet 8 1/16 x 11 1/16 inches.

A very fine impression, an early impression of this state, printed in a dark brownish/black ink on an ivory thin laid Japan paper.  In the later impressions the curling drypoint lines on the left arm of the man at the left tend to fade; in this impression they are clear. Later impressions tend to be cleanly wiped; in this impression a veil of plate tone has been left on the plate overall, with extra tone remaining toward the left of the plate

Longshoremen is a relatively common print, but can be properly appreciated only in very fine impressions such as this example.

$3200

 

 

LA MANOEUVRE A BORD

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Honore Daumier (1808-1879), LA MANOEUVRE A BORD, lithograph, 1843, plate 9 from the series LES CANOTIERS PARISIENS, published in Le Charivari, and also in the album Album Les Canotiers Parisiens .   Reference: Daumier Register 1031, third state (of 3). A sur blanc impression.   In good condition, 9 3/4 x 10 1/2, the sheet 10 1/4 x 13 1/2.

A fine strong impression, with good contrasts.

In the mid-1800’s boating on the Seine was a favorite weekend pre-occupation for Parisiens, including many who were ill-suited to the challenges of riverboating. Here’s the translation from the Daumier Register:

Original Text:
LA MANOEUVRE A BORD.
(Le Capitaine hurlant dans son porte-voix.) – Gabier, voici un grain qui se prépare . . . . carguez toutes les voiles! . . . .
– C’est bon . . c’est bon! . . est-ce que tu ne pourrais pas me dire ça tout tranquillement, au lieu de me fourrer ton grand diable d’instrument dans l’oreille! . . . . ça mà rendu si sourd que je n’en vois plus clair! . . . . .

Translation:
A BOAT-MANOEUVRE.
– The Captain yelling in his trumpet:
Gabier! There is a squall building up, get ready!….. Clew up all the sails!… That’s good:…. very good!
– Why didn’t you say that to me calmly instead of poking this huge instrument into my ear! Now I am so deaf, I can’t see clearly anymore!…

 

 

The Beggars

Monday, December 5th, 2011

James Whistler (1834-1903), The Beggars, etching and drypoint, 1879-80, signed with the butterfly on the tab and inscribed “imp”. Reference:  Glasgow 190, eighth state (of 17),  Kennedy 194, fourth state (of 9), from the First Venice Set. In excellent condition, trimmed by the artist to the plate mark except for the tab, 12 x 8 1/8 inches.

Provenance: Kennedy Galleries, NY, with their stock number verso (a 6953).

A very fine impression, printed on laid Japan, with substantial plate tone especially towards the edges of the composition.

In this rather early impression Whistler has burnished the butterfly from the upper left (and one can still see some evidence of this work), and moved the lantern from the far left toward the middle of the composition. But he has yet to do much additional shading and figuration work on the man with the wide-brimmed hat in the passageway.

$19,000

 

 

The Family

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Adriaen Van Ostade - The Family

 

Adriaen Van Ostade (1610-1685), The Family, etching and drypoint, c. 1647. References: Godefry 46, third state (of 7). In excellent condition, trimmed on or to the borderline at the top and sides, a bit more space below, on old laid paper without watermark, 6 15/16 x 6 1/16 inches.

Provenance: Jiles Boon (1916-2009); E.V. Rouir, Belgium (Lugt 2156a, with his stamp verso)

A very fine impression of this rare early state (Godefry designates the third states as RR, “très rare.”)

In the third state Van Ostade has re-worked the border lines with a burin, but the lower right corner of the cleaver suspended on the wall over the coffeepot, to the right of where the man is standing, has yet to be completed; this is also before the vertical crosshatching on the floor in the lower left corner, which is done in the still-rare fourth state.

The Family is one of Van Ostade’s masterpieces, called by Hamerton perhaps his most perfect etching, and by Wedmore among the “chefs d’oeuvre” of the art of etching. The composition is one of his most successful, with the focus on the family (taking up only about a quarter of the space), each of the family members is occupied – the father cutting bread, the mother feeding an infant, the younger boy holding a soup bowl and the older one playing with the dog – a splendid, positive picture of 17th Century Dutch peasant life.

 

 

 

Omnibus

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Zorn – Omnibus

Anders Zorn ((1860-1920), Omnibus, etching, 1892, signed in pencil lower right. Reference: Delteil 71, Asplund 72, Hjert/Hjert 183, second state (of 3).  One of only a few impressions of the second state, edition 75. In excellent condition, the full sheet, 10 3/4 x 7 3/4, the sheet 17 1/4 x 12 3/8 inches.

A fine striking impression of this early rare state, before the several lines added to the left of the face of the woman at the upper left.

Zorn’s composition of people on the omnibus is a variation on a theme popularized by many artists, including Mary Cassatt’s color drypoint Interior of a Tramway done a short time earlier (1891); Zorn varies the composition by taking a diagonal stance, and cropping the figure in the foreground; he uses the radical patterning of etching strokes to portray movement and light. He also portrays himself, in the top hat in the upper left.

$11,000

 

The Two Ships

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

James Whistler (1834-1903), The Two Ships, etching and drypoint, 1875,  signed with the butterfly in pencil. Reference: Glasgow 143, fifth state (of 5), Kennedy 148, third state (of 3). In good condition (pale light staining, minor repairs at upper and lower edges); the full sheet, on a 17th C. laid paper with the watermark initials WK. 8 x 5 1/16, the sheet 12 3/8 x 7 3/4 inches.

Provenance: B.B. MacGeorge (Lugt 394). Lugt notes: “Les estampes de Whistler, que MacGeorge possédait aussi en très belles épreuves, furent acquises en 1902 par H. Wunderlich & Co. (Kennedy & Co) de New-York.” Bertrand Buchanan MacGeorge was a Glasgow merchant and noted print collector.

A fine rich impression of this great rarity, with much burr in the drypoint work. This appears to be a very early proof of the fifth state, much richer than the fifth state impression at the National Gallery (Washington). In the fifth state additional shading lines are added to the small boat at the left, the two larger boats, and another warehouse is added behind the one at the far right (in addition to a few other smaller changes.)

A few proofs were made of the early states; then the Dowdeswell firm is said to have published an edition of 30 impressions in 1880, while Whistler was in Venice working on the Venice etchings.  The rarity of impressions suggests that the entire edition was not printed.

$25,000

The Two Ships - detail