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JEAN-BAPTISTE CAMILLE COROT Paris 1796 – 1875 Paris
Cliché-verre (salt proof) printed in brown; 1858. Melot 64; Glassman & Symmes, Cliché-verre: Hand-Drawn, Light-Printed, Detroit Institute of Arts 1980, cat. no. 23. An extremely early impression which corresponds exactly to the ‘avant-premier état described by Melot and as well as by Glassman and Symmes (that impression now in Washington, National Gallery of Art).
By 1858 Corot was one of the most admired figures in French painting. He readily took up the new medium of cliché-verre, printing an image onto photosensitive paper by means of a glass or translucent plate (the artist scratched or drew onto a plate which had been covered with an opaque surface; the drawn lines allowed light to penetrate to photo-sensitive paper placed beneath the plate). Corot was introduced to the new medium by his friend the painter Constant Dutilleux in 1853. Corot was the most important practitioner of this medium, producing no less than sixty-six clichés-verre.
The medium partakes of the graphic character of printmaking and the delicate tonality of photography. The creation of the plate gives the artist considerable autographic freedom in drawing, and the development of the image onto photosensitive paper can be modified in many different ways, producing different light-dark effects on the photographic paper print.
These prints were originally produced in extremely small editions; it is doubtful that they were intended for commerce but probably for a very small circle of friends and connoisseurs. In 1921 Maurice LeGarrec reprinted the cliché-verre plates of Corot and the other artists who experimented with the medium, notably Daubigny, Millet, Delacroix and Rousseau. Corot is, however, considered the greatest master of this medium, and early printings like ours here are now extremely rare.
223 x 160 mm 8 13/16 x 6 5/16 inches