The Slave Market – First State, and a later state


Jacques Callot (1592-1635), The Slave Market (Le Marche de Esclaves), etching, 1629. Reference: Lieure 369. An impression of the First State (of 6) and another of the 5th state. Both in good condition, the first with margins all around, on laid paper with no discernible watermark, a foxmark verso, slight fold just right of center, a nick left outer margin but in generally excellent condition, the second on laid paper with small margins; the second also in very good condition, the image is 4 1/2 x 8 5/8 inches, both impressions archive matted.

The fifth state impression has a watermark corresponding to Lieure’s watermark no. 53, (Raisin surmonte de la fleur de lys barre).

Both impressions are very fine examples of this iconic Callot image. Lieure considered examples of the first state tres rare.

In the first state the area above the horizon has yet to be completed; in addition a few heads of those standing in the groups are shown in outline only. In the subsequent states this setting, with old Italian buildings but the characters appearing in Turkish dress, is elaborated with a scene of Paris including the Seine, Pont Neuf, and Notre Dame in the distance!

This print shows a slave market: at the extreme right a man puts down some money on a table; the group in the middle has already bought some slaves who followthem, enchained. Many but not all of the men wear Turkish costumes; inprints made just previous to this Callot illustrated a play focusing on Soliman, ruler of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1561.

Lieure felt that Callot left this print unfinished, and that it was completed by another hand, though others have questioned this opinion. Callot did create full and more accurate images of Paris in separate views, and according to Lieure it would have hardly been characteristic of Callot to create two such disparate views in the same print; moreover, the views of Paris, he felt, are not particularly well-done, and there are errors in such matters as the number of arches in the bridge, errors that the Master would never have made. Some felt the additions were made by Israel Silvestre, a student of Callot (who was left many of his plates). But in any case these two impressions area wonderful example of state progression.