A rare print after a painting by French genre artist, Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845). Boilly was known for his images of the daily life and individuals of France's middle-class. He worked in France during a very turbulent period, his career spanning the monarchy, Revolution, and Napoleonic periods, and beyond. This work was published at the height of the Revolutionary Reign of Terror, but it bespeaks the pleasures of private life. It is based on one of the canvasses he exhibited in 1793 at the Paris Salon. Two women are crowning a statue of Cupid with a wreath of flowers, perhaps celebrating a success in love. It was just about this time that Boilly got into trouble with the Committee of Safety because of the erotic theme of some of his paintings. He was reprieved when it was discovered he had painted the heroic Triumph of Morat. The image here is typical of Boilly's genre paintings which made him so popular in the decade leading up to its publication. It is a stipple etching by J.F. Cavenave (born ca. 1770), one of the best practitioners of this art at the time. The chiaroscuro effects Cavenave was able to achieve are remarkable. This is a proof before the title was added, with only credit given to the etcher. $925
After Benjamin West. "Christ Showing a Little Child as the Emblem of Heaven." London: Valentine Green, 21 June, 1807. 25 1/2 x 35 1/4. Mezzotint. Lovely and rich original hand color. Margins including title trimmed to image. Six inch tear into image from right hand side expertly repaired. Overall, very good condition. Helmut von Erffa and Allen Staley's The Paintings of Benjamin West (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1986), #325.
A stunning and beautifully executed engraving after a painting by Benjamin West. In total West painted five different versions based on this title. This print is after the first painting which was executed between 1790 and 1801. The oil was originally painted for Thomas Macklin in order to appear in an illustrated edition of the Bible.
In the bottom margin was inscribed a dedication to the governors and guardians of the Foundling Hospital and a quotation from Matthew 18: v. 2-5:
"And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. And said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me."
This lush mezzotint was engraved by Valentine Green who is considered to be one of the finest English mezzotint portrait engravers. Green, who was an associate engraver to the Royal Academy and engraver to King George III, produced more than four hundred plates after paintings by Benjamin West, Joshua Reynolds and other well known painters. This print is very scarce and a major piece of study of Benjamin West's work.
A mezzotint is the inverse of the other intaglio processes, for the design is created working from black to white, rather than vice versa. A metal plate is worked using a rocker, which roughs the entire surface of the plate. If the plate were printed at this time, the image would be completely velvet black. Areas that are to appear in lighter tones or in white are smoothed out on the surface so that they will hold less ink. A mezzotint makes a very richly textured image, and it was particularly popular for portraits. Overall, the skills of the painter and engraver are superbly blended in this large and elegant print. $1,500
Thomas Faed. (1826-1900) "The Little Wanderer." Chicago: Crosby Opera House Art Association, 1866. 16 1/4 x 23 3/4. Steel engraving by Christian Rost. Printed by W. Pate, N.Y. Some chips at extreme edges of margins; tide mark at bottom margin, into publication line, but still legible. Else excellent condition.
This fine engraving was made by Rost after Faed's painting, "The Mitherless Bairn," which was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London, in 1855, where it achieved a notable popularity. The painting shows an idealized incident from Faed's early years: a small child pretending to be orphaned, has imposed on the family. In spite of having been treated and fed well while in their care, his behavior devolves, and it becomes known that he is no orphan, but in fact the child of two well known tramps.
Thomas Faed, born in Scotland, was one of five siblings who became accomplished artists. Credited for popularizing Scottish art to a degree similar to the way Robert Burns' works did for Scottish song, Faed painted for most of his life, to great acclaim.
This print was one of two premium options for single shareholders of the Crosby Opera House Art Association, an elaborate lottery to pay off the cost overruns caused by war shortages. Uranus H. Crosby built his famous Italianate Opera House on Washington Street, between State & Dearborn in Chicago. While the lottery was a great success, the structure was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. $450
Charles Eastlake. "Christ Blessing Little Children." Philadelphia: Bradley & Co., 1861. 11 3/4 X 16 (image). Mezzotint engraving by Samuel Sartain. Minor staining and scuffing in margins not affecting image. Otherwise, very good condition.
This handsome image illustrates the New Testament story of Jesus explaining to his disciples that one must have the childlike innocence and acceptance of God in order to be welcomed into Heaven. Under the image are several lines of text from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament:
And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Engraved by Samuel Sartain, the son of the famous printmaker John Sartain, this print is after Sir Charles Lock Eastlake's painting (1793-1865) made in 1839 which can be viewed today at the Manchester Art Gallery in England. $400
Randolph Caldecott. (1846-1886) "St. Valentine's Day." From The Graphic. London: February 13, 1875. 12 x 9. Chromolithograph. Very good condition.
This charming scene of cupid as a letter carrier, delivering Valentine's Day greetings to the girls and women in a household bursts with details, such as a decorative border filled with flowers, leaves, putti and lovebirds. The poem below the image adds further:
See, here comes the postman; we'll open the door,British artist Randolph Caldecott was best known for his children's illustrations, and is the namesake for the annually awarded Caldecott medal for outstanding illustrations in a children's book. Caldecott also illustrated travel books, drew cartoons and humorous drawings of the famous and fashionable, created and exhibited sculptures, as well as painted in oil and watercolors. Caldecott, an older child of a large family, left school at 15 and was apprenticed to a bank, in which industry he worked for a little over ten years, while also pursuing his artistic avocation. At the age of 26, having achieved some success selling illustrations, he quit the banking business, moved to London, and began to support himself entirely through his art work, quickly gaining popularity with his young audience through annual publications available at Christmastime. $145
And ask for our budget of letters, before
He touches the knocker; but, oh! he's so small,
He never can reach the knocker at all.
* * * * *
Why, who can he be? We are all of us stupid,
For this is none other than the little god CUPID.
Charles Fenderich. "Chev. Orozio de Attellis." [Orazio de Attellis Santangelo] Washington : C. Fenderich, 1843. 12 x 11. Lithograph by P.S. Duval, Philadelphia. Printed on India paper and mounted on original sheet with title and text. Left margin with short repaired tear and tiny hole. Otherwise, excellent condition.
Orazio de Attellis Santangelo (1774-1850), the last scion of a noble Italian family, became a soldier, political journalist and American patriot. As the Marquis of Sant'Angelo, he fought in several of the Napoleonic wars prior the restoration of the Bourbons. In 1824, he was forced to flee to the United States to escape arrest for his involvement in uprisings in Naples and Spain. He renounced his title and became an American citizen in 1828. His political activity continued, and because of his support for the Texans, Santangelo was first expelled from Mexico in 1826 and then again in 1835, after he had begun publishing a newspaper, El Correo Atlantico. Settling in New Orleans, Santangelo continued to issue the Correo, supporting Texas independence. In 1844 he published his The Texas Question, Reviewed by an Adopted Citizen. In 1847, Santangelo returned to Italy, where he remained embroiled in political affairs, up to his death in 1850. This print was drawn from life and lithographed by Charles Fenderich, a Swiss lithographer who had emigrated to Philadelphia in 1831. In Philadelphia, Fenderich issued a number of lithographs jointly with fellow Swiss artist J.C. Wild and also on his own until about 1837, at which time he moved to Washington, D.C. There Fenderich, realizing the opportunities afforded in the nation's capital, began to issue a series of fine lithographic portraits of, as he states in the title of his portfolio of prints, "Living American Statesman: embracing the Executive Officers of Government, Distinguished Members of Both Houses of Congress, and others of all Parties." These fine portraits were primarily based on his own life-drawings, for as his reputation spread, most of the political figures in Washington were delighted to sit for him. In all, Fenderich made about 84 portraits in Washington between 1837 and 1848, before he joined the California Gold Rush and finished his days as an artist on the west coast. Fenderich's portraits are not only beautifully made, but they provide us with excellent life-portraits of most of the important American statesmen of the third and fourth decades of the nineteenth century. $850
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