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Félix Bracquemond (1833-1914) after Gustave Moreau (1826-1898).

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Illustrations for the Fables of Jean de la Fontaine. 1886. Three of the six etchings for the series, each mounted on its original support sheet and signed in pencil by Bracquemond. Each has the oval blindstamp as first issued by Boussod, Valadon & Co., the year in which Moreau's watercolors of of these subjects were exhibited. Moreau was one of the fathers of the Symbolist movement in France.

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"Le singe et le chat" (The Monkey and the Cat). 1886. Etching. Béraldi 796. Published state. Image: 11 7/8 x 8 15/16; plate: 15 1/8 x 10 1/2. Illustrations for the Fables of Jean de la Fontaine. Printed on the full sheet of imperial japon paper. Issued by Boussod, Valadon & Co., the year in which Moreau's watercolors of these subjects were exhibited. Signed in pencil. $975.

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"La tête et la queue du serpent (The Countryman and the Serpent -- the Head and Tail of a Serpent). 1886. Etching. Béraldi 801.vii. Published state. Image: 11 1/2 x 8; plate: 15 x 10. Illustrations for the Fables of Jean de la Fontaine. Printed on the full sheet of imperial japon paper. Issued by Boussod, Valadon & Co., the year in which Moreau's watercolors of these subjects were exhibited. Signed in pencil. $975.

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Bracquemond was born in Paris in 1833, and at the age of 15 was apprenticed to a lithographer. Later he became a pupil of Guichard (a former student of Ingres) who taught him to paint, and encouraged him to learn etching. This Bracquemond did by using the Roret manual. He had such a talent for etching that by the time he was twenty he was already producing important prints which reveal him to be an absolute master of the technique. His interest in printmaking never waned. By the end of his life he had created over 900 prints and had been awarded several important prizes, the most noteworthy being Medal of Honor at the Salon of 1884 and a Grand Prize at the “Exposition Universellle” in 1900.

Bracquemond will be remembered and admired by connoisseurs for his best prints. He will be remembered also as a person primarily responsible for the revival of interest in the art of the “peintre-graveur” (the artist-printmaker) in the 19th century. For some time prior to Bracquemond’s work, etching had been relegated to use by craftsmen as a reproductive technique. With few exceptions, it was not used by artists as a creative medium. Bracquemond’s role was to master the technique, to make known its qualities, and to introduce it to his contemporaries as a means of making original prints. From his villa near St. Cloud, he encouraged artists (...Corot, Daubigny, Degas, Buhot) to use the medium, and spurred the interest of authors (Burty, Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers) to support in their writings those societies founded for the purpose of making the public aware of this nearly forgotten art.

Kovler Gallery: Forgotten Printmakers of the 19th Century, Chicago, 1967.

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