Sunday, April 7, 2013

Antique Prints

By Shennendoah E. Hollsten
Intern, Live Heritage Foundation
Paris, France 

A wave of enthusiastic admiration for prints hit Paris between 1890 and 1905. A little over 100 years later, I was hit by the same craze when I stumbled upon some beautiful 19th century antique French prints at Le Marche aux puces de Paris / Saint OuenThe St. Ouen flea market is a veritable crossroads of art combining antique dealers, artists, designers, and craftsmen. This flea market is recognized as one of the largest markets for antiques in the world. While hunting for undervalued antiques, I came across some 19th century French prints produced by Georges Jacques Gatine.

Georges Jacque Gatine (1773 - 1841) was a French printmaker, engraver and etcher, specializing in costume plates, mostly after Lanté. He was one of the most important contributors to the "Journals des Dames et Modes," published by La Mésangère. Fortunately, my mother, who is a generous supporter of my antique collections, was able to negotiate a more than fair price for a modest collection of prints. From this moment forward, I became an aficionado of fine prints. Here is one from my collection:

Michelle de Vitry, Veuve de Juvenel des Usins, L'Original est à Versailles

Pictured above is Michelle de Vitry, the wife of Juvenal Orsini, from the famous Italian family of the Orsini, known for their tapestries.

19th century French prints artistically depict compelling narratives of what life might have been like in France during the glittering extravagance of Louis XIV as well as other centuries when French kings fell under the spell of the Italian Renaissance.

While my collection is modest compared to that of the Van Gogh Foundation, acquiring a collection of fine prints represents an opportunity for me to research each piece in more detail in order to accurately value my collection's worth.

I am extremely grateful to my mother for jumpstarting my collection. I am also grateful to Alex Rüger, the Director of the Van Gogh Museum and to the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation for presenteding their collection of fine prints last summer. I very much enjoyed it. 

Amsterdam, Summer 2012


Van Gogh Museum. Printmaking in Paris: The rage for prints at the fin de siècle (2012)

Van Gogh Museum Exposition: Beauty in abundance. Highlights from the print collection of the Van Gogh Museum 2 February - 23 September 2012 at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

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