Fermes et Marais, Port-Louis



Adolphe Beaufrere (1876-1960),  Fermes et Marais, Port-Louis, 1908, etching, signed in pencil lower right [also initialed and dated in the plate lower right]. References: Morane 08-03, Laran 36. Printed on a thin wove Japan paper, in brown/olive ink. In very good condition, with margins, 7 7/8 x 11 3/4, the sheet 8 1/2 x 12 1/4  inches.

Provenance: acquired directly from Jean-Noel Beaufrere, the artist’s son.

A fine impression, with a light veil of plate tone, carefully wiped more cleanly in the field and middle sky; the foreground, especially the foreground right, is dark.

Morane notes that the intended edition was 40, there were 3 proofs of a first state and 5 of a second.

Beaufrere was born at Quimperle, in Brittany, and though he traveled widely he re-connected with this area throughout his life. As a teenager he decided that he wanted to become an artist and he traveled to Paris where, shortly after his arrival, he encountered the eminent Gustave Moreau, who took him on as a student. Moreau encouraged him to study old master prints, especially the prints of Rembrandt and Durer, which were available in the Cabinet des Estampes in Paris – this was to be critical in his development. He was also influenced by the stirrings of modernism in Paris at the time, as well as the Japanese woodcut tradition and the French frenzy with Japonisme.

Beaufrere began printmaking near the end of his formal training; he made a number of woodcuts, but soon focused more on etching and engraving, as well as painting (curiously, one of his printmaking teachers at that time was the Canadian etcher Donald Shaw MacLaughlan; Fermes and Marais appears to evidence a MacLaughlan influence). He began showing his prints, with some success, but after his marriage in 1905 his new wife convinced him to move out of Paris and back to Brittany, a move having a mixed effect on his career – contacts with other artists became fewer, but he did maintain gallery relationships, and the French countryside and it’s inhabitants would provide a continuing source of inspiration – as illustrated in Fermes et Marais, Port-Louis.