La Galerie Notre Dame – 4th State (of 6)

meryon galerieCharles Meryon (1821-1868) etching with engraving La Galerie Notre Dame, 1853. Schneiderman 29, Delteil 26. Schneiderman’s fourth state of six, Delteil’s third state of 5. In good condition, with very wide (full) margins (areas of staining in right margin but not near image), the matrix in perfect condition, on a cream laid paper, 11 1/8 x 6 15/16, the sheet 19 1/2 x 12 1/4 inches. [with the signature, date, address in the plate lower margin]

A very good impression of this important Meryon work, printed in brown ink.

In this early state Meryon has yet to add 7 crows within the area between the columns above the bell tower in the middle distance, and has yet to strengthen the tiny bell tower itself.

This view is taken within the inside of the Notre Dame gallery; tiny segments of Paris can be seen in the distance. The towers of Notre Dame were of course a focus of fascination for Meryon (they sometimes appear in his prints in views where they should not be!); here Meryon gets close up to his prey.

Meryon printed impressions in this state personally, paying close attention in many impressions (such as ours) to the careful wiping of the plate to produce areas of white (where the plate was wiped well before printing) but leaving some ink on the plate in other areas to create areas of plate tone. The central column and base, and the sky are wiped to create areas of bright light; ink is left, in differing layers of intensity, on other areas to create depth and shadow.

The crows in the foreground were probably in tribute to Poe’s the Raven, which was published at the time Meryon made La Galerie; Meryon was a Poe fan, and included crows in a few other prints made at that time (Le Stryge, Le Pont au Change).