Thursday, February 26, 2009

L'estampe moderne

In the 1890s various French publishers issued lavish albums of original prints. There was L’épreuve, edited by the artist Maurice Dumont monthly between December 1894 and December 1895; L’estampe originale, a quarterly edited by André Marty between 1893 and 1895; L’estampe moderne, published in five fascicles between November 1895 and March 1896 under the editorship of Loÿs Delteil; and the publication I am considering today, also called L’estampe moderne, published monthly between May 1897 and April 1899.

L'estampe moderne numéro 1, cover design by Alphonse Mucha

L’estampe moderne was edited by Charles Masson and H. Piazza, and printed and published by Imprimerie Champenois, Paris. Each monthly instalment came in a paper cover (which itself incorporated an original lithograph by Alphonse Mucha), and contained four original lithographs. Each issue cost 3 francs 50 cents if purchased in Paris (4 francs elsewhere), or you could subscribe by the year for 40 francs in Paris, 43 francs elsewhere. Subscribers were tempted with two extra lithographs a year, the “planches de prime”.

Girardot's Femme de Riff beneath its tissue guard

Each lithograph had its own tissue guard, printed with extracts from poetry or contemporary literature of relevance to the image. Most of the lithographs were printed directly on the main sheet of thick wove paper, but some were printed on various papers and then tipped on the backing sheet. In all cases the sheet is stamped with the blindstamp of a woman’s head in the bottom righthand corner.

The L'estampe moderne blindstamp

As this information is quite hard to come by, I am going as best I can to set out here the contents of the 24 issues of L’estampe moderne, though as I only have 21 of the folios (and am therefore missing 12 plates and one planche de prime) the information is going to get hazier towards the end. I’ll give the first number in full, but I won’t illustrate all 87 of the plates I have; for those interested they are all listed on Idbury Prints, along with biographies of all the artists.

Numéro 1, mai 1897

Alphonse Marie Mucha, Incantation: Salammbô (première prime)

Louis-Auguste Girardot, Femme du Riff

Maurice Réalier-Dumas, Corinne

Louis Malteste, Marchande de lacets

René Ménard, Automne

Numéro 2, juin 1897

Alphonse Marie Mucha, Salomé
Émile Berchmans, Renouveau
Armand Berton, Rieuse

Georges de Feure, Retour

Numéro 3, juillet 1897
Paul Balluriau, Crépuscule

Gaston de Latenay, Le parc

Marcel Lenoir, Invocation à la Madone d’onyx vert

Louis Rhead, La femme au paon

Numéro 4, août 1897

Gaston Darbour, Jeune fille aux coquelicots

Henri Héran, Fleur de mai
Émile-Auguste Wéry, Bretagne
Charles Léandre, Noël

Numéro 5, septembre 1897
Henri Bellery-Desfontaines, L’illusion
Antonin Calbet, L’inconnue
Maurice Eliot, Printemps

Armand Point, Légende dorée

Numéro 6, octobre 1897

Charles Doudelet, La chatelaine
Auguste François Marie Gorguet, Andante nocturne
Armand Rassenfosse, Danse
Paul Jouve, Le jugement de Paris

Numéro 7, novembre 1897

Marc-Henry Meunier, L’heure du silence

Henri Jacques Édouard Evenepoël, Au square
Alphonse-Jacques Lévy, Rabbi-Elischa l’aveugle
Jacques Wély, Fleur de Lande

Numéro 8, décembre 1897

Franz M. Melchers, La phalène des iles de la mer
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, Belle d’antan
Lucien Simon, Les marguilliers
Henri Boutet, Dans les coulisses

Numéro 9, janvier 1898
Edmond François Aman-Jean, Sous les fleurs
Camille Bellanger, La blanchisseuse
Paul Albert Laurens, Le bain des nymphes

Gustave-Max Stevens, Solveig

Numéro 10, février 1898

Auguste Donnay, Artemis

Auguste Louis Lepère, Loups de mer
Albert Émile Artigue, Albine
René François Xavier Prinet, Manon

Numéro 11, mars 1898

Hans Christiansen, L’heure du berger

Robert Engels, Le passant
Jeanne Jacquemin, Saint Georges
Ernest Laurent, Soir d’octobre

Numéro 12, avril 1898

Louis Rhead, Jane (deuxième prime)

Henry Detouche, Dans les ronces

Richard Ranft, L’écuyère
Fernand Louis Gottlob, La promise
Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, L’espérance

Numéro 13, mai 1898

Gaston Bussière, Brunnhild
Étienne Dinet, Jeux de fillettes à Laghouat
Henri Fantin-Latour, Immortalité
Auguste Roedel, La romance

Numéro 14, juin 1898
Jules-Gustave Besson, Au pays noir

Adolphe Giraldon, Lutèce

Henri Le Sidaner, La ronde

Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Bal de barrière

Numéro 15, juillet 1898
Maximilienne Guyon, Maris Stella
Henri Martin, Dante rencontre Béatrix

Fernand Piet, Un marché en Zélande
Eugène Trigoulet, Le chemin de la mort

Numéro 16, août 1898
Eugène Delâtre, Kacia

Henry-Gabriel Ibels, Pantomime
Paul Leroy, Joueuses d’osselets
Manuel Robbe, Menuet d’automne

Numéro 17, septembre 1898
Jacques Baseilhac, La soupe à la chambrée

Charles Huard, Pêcheurs à la ligne
Jules Alexis Muenier, Le retour des champs
Paul Renouard, Avant le ballet

Numéro 18, octobre 1898

Henri Bellery-Desfontaines, L’enigme (troisième prime)
Louise Breslau, Fillette à l’orange
Maurice Desvallières, Porteurs d’amphore

Francis Jourdain, Les cygnes
Adolf Muller, Bouderie

Numéro 19, novembre 1898
Louis Borgex, Les sardinières
Jules Léon Flandrin, La chevelure
R.-A. Ullmann, Tristesse sur la mer

Angelo Jank, Le femme au perroquet

Numéro 20, décembre 1898
Fernand Cormon, Cité lacustre
Henri-Patrice Dillon, Polchinelle

Paul César Helleu, Parisienne
Victor Émile Prouvé, Le baiser

Numéro 21, janvier 1899
Firmin Étienne Maurice Bouisset, Bouquetière

Charles François Prosper Guérin, Sirène

Henri Jules Guinier, Nuit douce
François Joseph Guiguet, La lampe

The remaining plates are, in alphabetical order of artist
Donat-Alfred Agache, Impéria
Émile-Louis Bracquemond, Portrait
Edward Burne-Jones, Beauty
Raphaël Collin, Le depart
Marguerite Delorme, La poupée
Guillaume Dubufe, L’enfant
Jeanne Granes, L’aïeule
Eugène Grasset, Dans les bois
Louis Weldon Hawkins, Liseuses
Ferdinand-Jean Luigini, La servante
Luc-Oliver Merson, Salomé (quatrième prime)
Lucien Hector Monod, La voix des sources
Adolphe Willette, Valmy

Of the lithographs illustrated in this post, my own three favourites are Evenepoël, Au square; Ranft, L’écuyère; and Rhead, La femme au paon.


Roxana said...

oh, superbe! what breathtaking works! I knew and loved Mucha, but the others... I will look again and again and then I will be perhaps able to tell you my three favourites.
thank you for doing this, I imagine how much time you had to spend for just this one post...

Anonymous said...

The colors are very fine - the originals must be in excellent condition. You have the only picture that is positively identified as being by Franz Melchers that I have ever seen, other than the ones in L'An, that I love. Solveig by G-M Stevens must have a story behind it. It must be Scandinavian? What an enjoyable article this is. To hold such works in your hands must be thrilling.

Neil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil said...

Yes, they're in lovely condition, Jane. Amazing considering their age, and the rather flimsy nature of the paper covers. Solveig is a character in Peer Gynt by Ibsen; she sings Solveig's Song, a translation of which is on the tissue guard to the G.-M. Stevens lithograph.

Neil said...

So glad you enjoyed it Roxana. I look forward to hearing your favourites.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Wonderful stuff. Is there any connection between Louis Rhead and the ceramic artist Charlotte Rhead, who worked for various firms in the Potteries in the first half of the 20th century?

I liked Solveig too. There's a lovely setting of Solveig's song by Grieg.

Neil said...

Rhead is a peculiar spelling of a common name, so you can't help feeling there might be a connection, but as Louis was American and Charlotte English, I think it may be quite tenuous. Solveig is great. Until Jane asked, I hadn't connected the picture with Ibsen (not having bothered to read what was clearly printed on the tissue guard). But quite without the literary connection, the image gives a lovely sense of introspection and longing.

Neil said...

Rhead is a peculiar spelling of a common name, so you can't help feeling there might be a connection, but as Louis was American and Charlotte English, I think it may be quite tenuous. Solveig is great. Until Jane asked, I hadn't connected the picture with Ibsen (not having bothered to read what was clearly printed on the tissue guard). But quite without the literary connection, the image gives a lovely sense of introspection and longing.

Roxana said...

but it is so difficult to choose :-) I can't!!! even if la femme au paon is definitely among my favourites too! and then Jeune fille aux coquelicots, and La ronde...

{Tara} said...

This is an incredible post! Thank you so much for sharing...I am currently working toward a dissertation on representations of women in the Fin-de-siecle and this has given me a new avenue of research! Gorgeous images!

Anonymous said...

I have 2 lithographs one labeled, "Maris Stella", by Maximilienne Guyon....with tissue and "Estampe En Couleurs, Originale, Inedite....l'Estampe moderne. Another titled, "LISEUSES", BY L.-W. Hawkins. This also has the same information as noted on the above "Maris Stella". The Hawkins lithograph is dated 1898.

Neil said...

Hi Tara - Glad you liked it! I'd always be happy to help with your dissertation in any way I can.

Neil said...

Anonymous - I'm sure from your description that your two lithographs are genuine, issued by L'Estampe moderne.

Anonymous said...

Would you have any idea of the lithographs' monetary value?

Neil said...

Hi Anonymous - In my opinion neither of these lithographs has a high value. I would put a value of about £100/$150, on each of them. That's a price to buy, not to sell.

Anonymous said...


Gabrielle Dumais said...

Thank you for posting there exquisite images!
I keep coming back to look at them!

Neil said...

You're welcome back anytime, Gabrielle.