Monday, March 8, 2010

Picture of the Week No. 14 - Eugène Carrière

Every time I come across a work by Eugène Carrière I am struck by both his individual technique and the ethereal nature of the faces he portrays. This weeks picture is a classic example of a Carrière portrait looming out of a misty wash of ink or paint, making use of a subtractive process to create a likeness by removing rather than adding to the plate. By the 1890s the artist had fully develpoed his atmospheric monochrome style that translates the effects visible in this lithograph into major oil paintings. KP

Eugène CARRIÈRE (1849 - 1906)
Buste de jeune fille, 1890

lithograph, 31 ´ 26 cm (image)
51 ´ 33.8 cm (sheet)
inscribed: in pencil Eugène Carrière and Mme. Emile Javal
on reverse: No.12 Buste de jeune fille Lithographie tiree a une cire

PROVENANCE: Hamilton Galleries, from whom purchased by Gallery, May 1966.
REFERENCES: L.Delteil, Le Peintre-Graveur Illustré (XIX - XX Siècles), 1913, vol.8, no.12.

Carrière was born at Gournay, Seine-et-Oise (now Seine-Saint-Denis) just east of Paris. His father (an insurance salesman) struggled to support his family, and, at the age of two, the family moved to Strasbourg. Carrière's early training was for a career in commercial lithography, but, after seeing works by Rubens in the Louvre, he decided that he would become an artist.

He struggled in his new career, resorting to commercial work in both Paris and London and at the Sèvres porcelain factory (1880-84), where he met Auguste Rodin (1840 - 1917). However, by the late 1880s he had achieved recognition for his work (being made Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur).

His renewed interest in printmaking as an art medium, came about through the encouragement of his friends, and, from 1890 onwards he made a series of lithographs, many of which were used as frontispieces or published for print collectors.


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