William Strang Original 19th Century Etching Mealtime The Portfolio 1884 Unmatted, Unframed


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Title: Mealtime
Artist: William Strang - (1959-1921) - Scottish artist
Technique: Original Etching from a Copper Plate
Image size: 6-3/4 x 9-3/4 inches
Paper: Natural Laid Paper with a Portfolio and MBM watermarks, 9-3/4 x 13-3/4 inches
Date Printed: Etched in 1883, Published in 1884
Edition Size: Limited Edition published by The Portfolio art journal in 1884.
Signed: Signed and dated in the plate, not pencil signed.
References: William Strang: Catalogue of his Etched Work (1906) by Laurence Binyon - No. 40 in the catalogue
The British Museum has this print in their collection and shows it on their website.
Condition: Very Good condition with some light stains in the margin well away from the image. (Please see photos)
Presentation: Unmatted and unframed as published 133 years ago. Blank on the back, not laid down. Slips in a plastic archival sleeve.

William Strang was a very accomplished painter and printmaker who learned etching at the Slade School in London under the eminent French born teacher and printmaker Alphonse Legros. Strang was a realist in technique, but his works, like this one titled "Mealtime," were also studies in human emotion and the pathos of the human condition. The artist often presented the poorer classes of people.

Here we have a poor, homeless family stopping beneath a tree for lunch. The mother has a small parcel in her lap that will need to feed five, and there is a small jug on the ground. According to Strang, the father has just bathed in the nearby lake, and he is in the process of getting dressed.

This is a work that is well composed and drawn, and it explores a depth that other etchers preferred to stay away from. The description of the etching from The Portfolio art journal with favorable comments from the editor Philip Hamerton is included.

The Portfolio Art Journal:
In the 1870s and 1880s during the etching revival in Europe, The Portfolio art journal, edited by artist and writer Philip Hamerton, published original collectable etchings by many of Europe's best known printmakers. Many were signed in the plate, none were pencil signed.

Artist Biography
William Strang was a Scottish painter and printmaker. Following a brief apprenticeship with a shipbuilding firm in Clydesdale, he entered the Slade School of Art (1876) where he adhered to the uncompromising realism advocated by his teacher Alphonse Legros. After completing his studies at the Slade (1880), Strang became Legros's assistant in the printmaking class for a year. For the next 20 years he worked primarily as an etcher. His etchings include landscapes in the tradition of Rembrandt, pastoral themes indebted to Giorgione and macabre genre subjects, marked by a sense of tension and suspended animation. He also etched 150 portraits of leading artistic and literary figures.

The commitment to realism and psychological intensity that characterises the best of Strang’s etched work is also evident in the paintings that dominated the latter half of his career. The influence of the Belgian and French Symbolists' work and Strang's growing confidence in the handling of colour combined in his mature style with a linear clarity and schematic coloring. An important collection of Strang's graphic work is in the Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. His sons Ian Strang and David Strang were also printmakers.

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