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You are hereHarvey-LeeHomeHarvey-LeeCatalogues - Main Introduction Harvey-LeeThis, That & the Other

in graphic detail

As the title implies this catalogue has no specific theme. It includes, as usual in the Winter catalogue, a pleasing (I hope) serendipidous mixture.

It opens with a small selection of Old Master prints of owls; an uncommon Rembrandt portrait (of Menassah ben Israel); a magnificent piece of 17th century French portrait engraving by Masson, of Le Cadet à la Perle and three Canalettos, including, to my mind, his masterpiece The Portico with the Lantern.

CORNELIS BLOEMAERT, Utrecht 1603 – 1692 Rome. What good are a candle and glasses if the owl simply refuses to see? This original etching with engraving, c1625, is for sale.

CORNELIS BLOEMAERT Utrecht 1603 – 1692 Rome
One of the three sons of Abraham Bloemaert, all taught by their father, Cornelis trained as a painter but practiced mainly as an engraver, a technique he learnt from Crispin de Passe. Before he left for Italy, Cornelis engraved a number of prints after his brother Henrik (1601-1672), of which at least three feature owls in an emblematic context.

What good are a candle and glasses if the owl simply refuses to see?
Roethlisberger H5, only state
221 x 182 mm Etching and engraving, c1625, after a lost painting by Hendrik Bloemaert.

The title is a popular 17th century Dutch proverb, which often had a pecuniary implication. The owl has attracted contrary emblematic significances. As the attribute of the goddess Athena, it is associated with wisdom; and because of its remarkable night vision, is a symbol of sight. Its poor day vision has lent it a reputation for stupidity and figurative ‘blindness’ to for example religious precepts.
In the Bloemaerts’ image, the owl ignores the Commandments emphasised in the open Bible “Thou shall not steal” and “Thou shall not kill” and clings to the book from which protrudes a slip of paper lettered “It is about profit”.
The appeal of the image resulted in it being copied and used, with different text, in other contexts.
The British Museum website reproduces a later 17th century English satirical copy by James Collins entitled Fanatick Madg very close to the Bloemaert image and in the same direction (perhaps a copy of the original painting –a London auction in 1689 included a painting described as A Droll of an Owl reading by a Candle.)
The English print’s inscriptions relate to anti Popery and getting rid of James II. A later (18th century) state of the same plate is retitled The Committee Man as a satire on government committees.

Among the ‘modern’ prints are Fuseli’s A Woman sitting by the Window (or Evening thou bringest All) one of the earliest artist’s original lithographs and perhaps the best of these polyautograph ‘incunabula’; two relatively unknown small chalk transfer lithographs on a single sheet, by Whistler, only transferred to stone after his death for inclusion in Way’s book on Whistler, their only issue; Millet’s most majestic etching The Departure for Work (see Home Page Selection for December 2016) and a group of ‘German’ prints from the end of the 19th and early years of the 20th century, including Kollwitz’ Frauenkopf and the Tropon poster design by the Belgian artist Henry van de Velde, one of the instigators of Art Nouveau.

There is quite a large group, on consignment, of wood engravings and the occasional linocuts by William Thomas Rawlinson (see the illustration on the December 2016 Home Page Selection page), which all come, at one remove, from the artist’s widow’s estate, and which give a good overview of his work which may be unfamiliar to many.

Anne Le Bas and Monica Poole are also represented in small groups of prints.

The index of artists to the right gives an indication of others included in the catalogue.

Published December 2016
Quarto paperback; 40 pages; 99 illustrations (15 in colour)

(Price U.K. £12; International orders £18)

Prints available
Prints from this catalogue are still available.

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This, That & the Other, Winter Catalogue from Elizabeth Harvey-Lee, 2016

Artists included in the catalogue:

  • Aman-Jean E
  • Anderson S
  • Barleigh
  • Bloemaert C
  • Bloemaert H
  • Brangwyn F
  • Canaletto
  • Denyer-Baker B
  • Figura H
  • Frank S
  • Freeth H A
  • Fürst P
  • Fuseli H
  • Greaves W
  • Greenhalf R R
  • Kirkpatrick
  • Kollwitz K
  • Komjati J
  • Le Bas R
  • Leighton A C
  • Leighton B A
  • Masson A
  • Marshall J E
  • Mignard N
  • Millet J F
  • Orlik E
  • Paescke P
  • Pankok O
  • Paynter H
  • Poole M
  • Rawlinson W T
  • Rembrandt
  • Renton A
  • Simpson J
  • Struck H
  • Teniers D
  • Velde H van de
  • Walcot W
  • Webb J
  • Whistler J Mc N
  • Whitley G
  • Zeising W

This, That & the Other, Winter Catalogue from Elizabeth Harvey-Lee, 2016

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