Eye Candy for Today: Nicolas Delaunay engraving after Fragonard

The Happy Accident of the Swing, Nicolas Delaunay, engraving after Fragonard

The Happy Accident of the Swing, Nicolas Delaunay, engraving after Fragonard (details)

The Happy Accident of the Swing, Nicolas Delaunay

Engraving, roughly 20 x 16″ (51 x 42 cm); in the collection of the Art Institute Chicago

This wonderfully lush and textural engraving by Nicolas Delaunay is a copy of a famous painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. It was not uncommon for painters to have printmakers create copies of their most popular works, if they weren’t inclined to do it themselves.

Here the image (reversed, of course, because it’s a print) becomes a fascinating study in controlling value relationships with deeply textural line and hatching. Look at the range of values, from the dark leaves and branches to the delicate rendering of the tree in the distance to the bright sheen of the dress.

 
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Francis Seymour Hayden

Francis Seymour Haden, etching

Francis Seymour Haden, etchings and drawings

Francis Seymour Hayden was a successful surgeon, and also a dedicated and influential etcher. Active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Hayden was already an etcher when James McNeill Whistler became his brother-in-law.

Hayden was enthusiastic in his studies of past paster of printmaking, so much so that created an noted catalogue of Rembrandt’s etchings and wrote an important monograph, The Etched Work of Rembrandt critically reconsidered.

Among the examples of his work on the web, you will also find some accomplished pencil drawings and watercolors.

 
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Andrew Davidson

Andrew Davidson, illustration

Andrew Davidson, illustration

in an age of digital illustration, Andrew Davidson is a UK illustrator who uses some of the most traditional illustration techniques from previous centuries, wood engraving, color woodcuts and gouache painting.

The result is a delightful blend of traditional and contemporary sensibilities. Some of his wood engravings, in particular, have a great feeling of illustration history, but applied to such modern titles as the Harry Potter series.

There is a variety of illustrations in each of his mediums on Davidson’s website. You can find some larger reproductions on the sites of his artists’ representatives, The Artworks Illustration and Mendola Associates.

There is also a brief video of Davidson on Vimeo, in which he discusses and demonstrates some of his process.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Carl Wihelm Kolbe etching

Dead Oak Tree, Carl Wihelm Kolbe, etching
A Dead Oak Tree, Carl Wihelm Kolbe

Etching on laid paper, roughly 14 x 20 inches (37 x 52 cm),

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; original is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has a downloadable high-res version of the image.

Kolbe was noted for his intricately detailed portrayals of natural forms, both real and fantastical. What I admire most about this drawing (an etching is essentially a drawing), is the wonderful control of value.

Kolbe has used hatching and stipple to render the foreground form with visceral texture and contrast, but is still able to give the background elements a similar feeling of tactile detail while pushing them back with atmospheric perspective.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Turner’s Bridge in Middle Distance

The Bridge in Middle Distance, Charles Mallord William Turner and Charles Turner
The Bridge in Middle Distance, Charles Mallord William Turner and Charles Turner

Etching, aquatint and mezzotint, roughly 7 x 11 inches (18 x 28 cm).

Link is to zoomable version on the Google Art Project; original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has both zoomable and downloadable versions.

As he frequently did, British artist Joseph Mallord William Turner worked with master printmaker Charles Turner (no relation) to produce this beautiful lanscape print.

In this case, JMW Turner designed the image did the primary etching, calling on Charles Turner to apply the tones under his direction using the processes of aquatint and mezzotint.

Aquatint involves coating part of the plate in particles of resin, leaving a granular halftone when the plate is etched in acid. Mezzotint is a process in which the plate, or parts of it, are roughened with a special textured “rocker”, leaving a surface that will print as tones that can be burnished to produce variations.

Like most prints, there are multiple impressions of this one; there is another in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This was one of seventy plus images for which Turner made prints as part of a collection called “Liber Studiorum” (Book of Studies), intended to demonstrate examples of his ideas about landscape. For another beautiful print from that series, see my previous post: Eye Candy for Today: JMW Turner etching and mezzotint.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Whistler’s Weary

Weary, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, drypoint eteching  /><br />
<a href=Weary, James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; there is also a downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; the original is in the collection of the Freer/Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Museums, DC.

Drypoint, third state of six, roughly 8 x 5″ (19 x 13 cm).

This is one of James Whistler’s most famous etchings.

A master etcher, Whistler here used the process of drypoint to portray his lover and frequent model Joanna Hiffernan in a moment of repose.

Drypoint is a printmaking technique similar to etching that involves scratching lines directly into the plate rather then scratching away a lines in a resist that is then carved by immersion in acid. Drypoint leaves an even softer line than etching, and Whistler’s flurry of soft lines give the modeling of the face and hair beautifully soft edges, the printmaking equivalent of a painter’s sfumato technique.

The hatching across the face looks a bit odd in magnified view, but when viewed at normal size resolves into delicate modeling of the facial features.

Despite the obvious attention devoted to the face and upper body, the rest of the composition feels almost casual; the right hand just seems to dissolve into he gesturally indicated folds of the dress, and Whistler hasn’t attempted to fully hide the upside-down face in the lower left — that indicates he originally started a different drawing on this plate. (I’ve turned the face 180° in the images above, bottom.)

Like most etchings and drypoints there are multiple versions of the image pulled from various states of the plate. The Freer/Sackler collection includes two more of the fourth state, here and here. The Metropolitan Museum of Art also has a state 4 pull from the plate. In my brief searching, I’ve found mostly state 4 versions; there is apparently no known existing print from the sixth state of the plate.

Here is a record of the 5 other states on the University of Glasgow’s Whistler etchings catalogue raisonné.

 
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