Antoine Vollon Rare Original French Etching An Inn Near Lyon 1863 Printed by Delatre Unmatted, Unframed Eaux-Fortes Modernes


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Title: An Inn Near Lyon
Une Auberge, Environs de Lyon (French Title)
Artist: Antoine Vollon (1833-1900) - French artist
Technique: Etching
Signature: Signed in the plate and also identified under the image.
Date Published: 1863
Edition: Limited Edition published by Cadart & Chevalier in the Eaux-Fortes Modernes (Modern Etchings) portfolio in 1863.
Dimensions: Sheet size - 13 x 19 inches, Image size - 7-1/8 x 9-1/2 inches
Condition: Excellent Condition with only some very light foxing in the margins. The image is flawless.
References: Catalogue of Prints (1903) complied by Martin Hardie, p. 204
Eaux-Fortes Modernes (1863)
Printing: A strong impression expertly printed in black ink on heavy white wove paper by the master Paris printer Auguste Delatre.
Presentation: Unmatted and unframed as published. This print has never been matted or framed. Blank on the back, not laid down. Ships in a plastic archival sleeve with backing board.
Description: During his career Antoine Vollon was considered a master painter who was highly respected by his peers. Like many of the other French painters of the period, he was also a printmaker. "Une Auberge" was etched for the first – and now quite rare – portfolio published by the Society of Aquafortistes (Etchers) in 1863. This wonderful interior of a crowded inn near the town of Lyon, demonstrates Vollon's great ability as a draftsman. This work, with its use of light and dark and a variety of shades and tones between the two is more like a painting than a print. It has the look and feel of an Old Master print from a much earlier period.

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Antoine Vollon was considered "one of the princes of French art," and indeed in his own time he enjoyed a stellar reputation. Endowed with an amazing ability to manipulate paint and deliberately avoiding literary or historical themes, he made his name as a painter of still life and humble, interior scenes. In one final category of painting did he achieve lasting distinction. Vollon was a remarkable landscape painter, capable of working in a variety of modes. He could reproduce fugitive light and atmospheric effects and the busy turmoil of a Paris street scene in a manner reminiscent of the Impressionists (his contemporaries), as his Pont-Neuf, Paris, exhibited here, wonderfully attests.

On a smaller scale, he could depict woodland scenes with an immediacy and truthfulness worthy of the Barbizon painter Charles-François Daubigny, his mentor and loyal friend. Vollon also loved to render with panache the picturesque corners of ancient towns, as in his Courtyard of 1874, in which the paint application resembles the heavily trowelled texture of the actual stucco walls. Finally, in the larger, more ambitious scenes Vollon intended for public exhibition – such as the Route de Rocquencourt, near Versailles – he could evoke the majesty of nature, enhanced by a relative (one could say modernist) simplicity of design.

Trained in his native Lyon as a printmaker and as a painter largely self-taught, Vollon settled definitively in Paris in 1859. There, in the expansive middle years of the Second Empire, he rose to prominence, becoming a steady, much honored presence at the Paris Salon, beginning in 1864. Though fiercely independent, Antoine Vollon belonged to the Realist camp of painters that included Gustave Courbet, Jean-François Millet, François Bonvin and Théodule Ribot. As a young artist "madly in love with painting" (as he once described himself) and highly prodigious, he soon developed a dazzling technique, handling the oil medium with the aim of faithfully recording the world around him. As the contemporary critic Ernest Chesneau remarked: "The first thing he comes upon, everything that falls within his field of vision is a pretext for painting. His mastery is measured by his astonishing fidelity, by his extreme variety of interpretation, without weakness, without smallness, on the contrary with a firmness, a suppleness, a brio of execution of the least common type." Whether wielding paint brush or palette knife, or simply smearing oil paint on canvas or panel with his fingers, Vollon was indeed a "painter’s painter." This characterization is confirmed by the fact that the bravura American Impressionist artist, William Merritt Chase, owned no less than twenty of his paintings. (biography from the Wildenstein & Company website)

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