Friday, 26 August 2016

Jules Leray: Paris !

Leray (le Ray), Jules
(Nantes 19875 – 1938 Paris-?)
Painter and aquatint etcher 

Eglise de la Madeleine, Paris 

While meeting Marcel Baron in Paris last week I discovered another artist signing his prints just with a simple family name: “Leray”. Like Marcel Baron he also visited and choose to depict the well known places and monuments in Paris.
Opera, Paris 
There’s this half a dozen or so aquatint color etchings of Paris that I know of by this artist signing “Leray and in one occasion “Jules”. Assuming in all cases this is indeed Jules Leray the Brittany painter I wonder how this Pont Aven school (follower) landscape painter came to etching Paris’ landmarks. 
Paris, Place Vendôme

Paris, Notre Dame 

Paris, Seine, Bouqinistes 

True, he is also known to have made prints of some other (Brittany) views so I think it  is indeed safe enough assuming he is one and the same artist. For this posting and your enjoyment I "pimped, straightened and cleaned" the usually not too good auction photographs with Photoshop. 

Paris,  Arc de Triomph

I think his color etchings are not particularly good, a bit "frozen and static", second echelon quality, but the way he decorates his Paris streets with people and traffic (cars, buses) is rather charming and moving even.
Paris, Place de la Bastille 

Strangely Jules Leray is not to be found in any Artist Lexicon, and other then the paintings and etchings that came to market he has but one mentioning in the Internet. Also I could not find where he died or is buried.
Paris, Rue des Capucines
Rue des Capucines by Jean Béraud with same kiosk. 

He had since 1890 been a close friend of post-impressionist and very well known Breton (Brittany) painter Henry Moret (Cherbourg 1956 – 1913 Paris).

Moret studied in Paris’ Acedemie and had become a close friend of Paul Gauguin meeting the eccentric painter in Pont Aven in 1888. After seeing Monet’s work Moret turned away from his academic training and started to paint in an impressionist way.

It is said Moret (above) and Leray (below) often set up their painting easels in summer, side by side, and by the end of a days painting “it was all but impossible to distinguish who‘d painted what”. Like Moret, Leray was born in Brittany and both painters exhibited in the Salon des Independants. I have no idea where Jules Leray might has studied. I do know he painted a portrait of his friend, but could not find a picture of it. 

Moret in Egmand aan Zee, Netherlands 1900
Henri Moret visited the Netherlands in 1900, many foreign and French painters did, painting at the coast and staying in Hotel Wanders in picturesque Volendam. In 1931 Jules Leray travelled to Morocco. Moret’s international fame today is much higher then Leray who is more of a local Brittany hero where as Moret’s Brittany impressionist landscapes are collected in the major museums all over the world.

Thoniers, Breton Tuna fishing boats by Leray, signing "Jules" 

Leray’s oil paintings do fetch good prices in auctions but his charming Paris prints can be found in Ebay, charity shops, car boots and flea markets. 

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Hans Reissinger: Berndt student in Bayreuth

These two prints of the park and palaces of the "Eremitage" in Bavarian Bayreuth surfaced in German eBay last week. Once the seat of dukes and princes it was also the hometown of composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883).

It is not hard to recognize who might have taught the architect Hans Reissinger the principles of printmaking. Just compare the pictures of prints in this posting (that were shown before) of Siegfried Berndt,  himself, and two other students. It is funny to see Reissinger, who must have been a good drawer of buildings, printed his "Markgrafbrunnen" mirrored because I had to mirror this contemporary photograph to match it up.  

Reissinger, Hans Carl 
(Bayreuth 10-04-1890 – 23-11-1972 Bayreuth)

Painter, architect and printmaker, (also Reisigner, with one s). Studied 1908-1912 in Munich “Technischen Hochschule” with painter and architect Friedrich von Thiersch (1852-1921), architect Theodor Fischer (1862-1938) and Karl Hocheder who was president of the High Court in Leipzig. Worked 1912-14 as assistant of architect German Bestelmeyer (1874-1942) in Dresden. Bestelmeyer succceeded von Thiersch in 1922 and acted as president of the “Akademie fur Bildende Künste” 1924-1942 organising an exhibition of popular Norwegian painter, drawer and caricaturist Olaf Gulbranson (1873-1958), (below).

After graduating in 1918 he settled in Bayreuth and worked as “Stadtbaurat” (chief cityplanner) 1927-1929 in Düsseldorf. He became a member of the NSDAP in 1934 and was promoted by the Nazi mayor as the cities overall planner also arranging the funeral of Hans Schemm an important Bavarian Nazi, attended by Adolf Hitler and all high ranking party members. During the Nazi period he build several buildings and monumens in Bayreuth. After WW2 he designed the stage for Wagners opera “der Meistersinger” after the “Bayreuth Festspiele” were continued and was involved designing many memorials and monuments and restauration of the many historic buildings in Bayreuth.
Dresslers KHB 1930 (Reisinger): M(aler), A(architect), Bayreuth, Richard Wagenerstrasse 39.
Steps of Pilnitz Palace near Dresden.

Examining Reis(s)ingers prints there's no doubt he was a Siegfriedt Berndt (1880-1946) apprentice possibly during his stay in Dresde. The two prints showing the “Eremitage” palace and the “Markgrafenbrunnen” in Bayreuth, buildings he took actively part in restoring  . They surfaced in German Ebay august 2016.

Dresden, Zwinger palace,  by Haine Rath(1873-1920)
Dresden by Bertha Schrader. (1845-1920) 
These prints by Heine Rath (1873-1920) and Bertha Schrader (1845-1920) are very similar in execution and sparse use of paint and color. Both artists died in 1920 which, with the years from Reissinger's stay in Dresden this gives us a nice clue dating these prints. Bertha Schrader, as an accomplished and successful painter must have tried at woodblock printmaking late(r) in life because she is the earliest born (German female) artist in my printmakers research. She will have met Berndt in Dresden. Berndt studied in Dresden 1899-1906 while Rath taught there at the Academy 1901-1919, from 1903 as a professor. 

Follow the labels in this posting for further reading.

All pictures borrowed freely from the internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Marcel Lucien Baron: Eglise de la Madeleine

Eglise de la Madeleine by Marcel Lucien Baron.

Here's another example of the half a dozen or so (maybe add another one or two) of the more desirable Paris city view etchings in the prolific oeuvre of the aquatint etcher Marcel Lucien Baron (1872-1956). Most of his prints, offered in fairly large quantities in online auctions like Ebay, are i.m.h.o. in the "bread and butter and giftshop-tourist-souvenir" department, but somehow, someday he managed to improve and surpass the rather weak and dull appearance of many of his city views. Technically I think there's nothing wrong with all his prints, I suspect he was trained by his father from a young age (but that is still under investigation, he is not mentioned having studied in any official school or institutions) and he must have picked up the latest developments and possibilities about this technique from contemporary artist and colleagues working in Paris. But what amazes me is the difference in artistic quality in his oeuvre. Since he left no dates on his prints, one can only guess but I think personal contact with some of the artists mentioned here may have contributed to his inspiration.   

Eglise de la Madeleine by Hans Figura 

The aquatint technique, no doubt, came from Vienna where the long-lived Willam Unger (1837-1932) taught graphics at the “Grafischen Lehr und Versuchsanstalt’. His student Luigi Kasimir (1881-1962) and his later wife Johanna (Tanna) Hoerner (1887-1972) developed and perfected it. Together with Max Pollak (1886-1970), who studied at the same school and Tavik Frantisek Simon (1877-1942). Pollak emigrated to the US in 1927 and rose to great fame and the reputation of Franz Simon is without equal. It is this trio that gained such succes worldwide with their city views and colored etching.  

Eglise de la Madeleine by Luigi Kasimir

Before them etchings were colored by hand (not by plate) rather haphazardly. 

Eglise de la Madeleine by Tavik Frantisek Simon.

All these men stayed, lived and worked in Paris beginning of the century. 

Hans Figura

I'm sure Marcel Baron will have adopted some of the aquatint technique from their skill and knowledge. Just recently I found another nice clue. In 1926 a young Hans Figura (1898-1978) was in Paris too, it is said (I think he claimed it himself) he had been a student of Luigi Kasimir himself. And he also had been a student in the same “Grafischen Lehr und Versuchsanstalt’ in Vienna. There are some striking similarities in composition in these, their, Madeleine prints and maybe more examples will be found. 

Marcel Baron

And I'm also sure in one way or the other Marcel Baron and Hans Figura will have met. 

Eugène Véder

As he wil also have known that other fine Paris etcher Eugène Véder (1876-1936), his contemporary and colleague. Neil in his Blog (here) wrote passionately about Véder (please do visit !)

Al pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.        

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Alice Baron-Puyplat: wife of Marcel Lucien Baron

Joined with her husband, Paris aquatint etcher Marcel Lucien Baron at Père Lachaise cemetery, rests Alice Puyplat. So why not check "Benezit, dictionaire des peintres" ? 

Marie Alice Baron-Puyplat
(Paris 05-05-1880 – 1965 Paris)
“Graveur sur bois”: woodengraver. 

Student of her father Jules Puyplat (1843-1915) and of Mme. Corduan. Alice exhibited in the “Société Artistique de la gravure sur bois” and in the “Salon des Artistes Francais” earning a honourable mentioning and a Medal 3th Class.

She is mentioned for her engravings of: Chopin (after an unfinished painting by Eugene Delacroix, see here for the interesting history of a painting of George Sand and her lover Frédéric Chopin that was cut up once. Frederic now is in the Louvre, George is in a Denmark Museum. Once so close, in life and on canvas, now so far apart. The reunited couple (him playing the piano and her doing needlework, looking admiringly at his brilliant hands, is academical fiction. 

of: Hector Berlioz (after the painting by Honoré Daumier

and of a painting, “La Rieuse”, (girl smiling, after Rembrandt, probably  Saskia smiling ?). I could not find any of them. It would be nice to find examples of her work.

I suppose this is probably the first time in modern history some-one has ever looked into her artistic life.  

Mme Corduan took me some time to find (she’s not in the Artists Lexicons) but she is:

Augustine le Coursonnois Corduan 
“graveur sur bois” (woodengraver). 

She was 1886-1913 professor of wood-engraving for the young girls in the “Ecole special de dessin” in Paris.


Alice Puyplat is the daughter of:

Jules Jacques Puyplat
(Cusset/Allier 1843-1915 Paris)

“Graveur sur bois”, woodengraver. Exhibited (in the Salon) and worked in Paris from 1877. Member of the “Artistes Francais” since 1893, “mention honourable” in 1880). Without knowing I’ve owned many of his engravings: he  engraved the earliest and many postage stamps for the French colonies.

And with this incredible demonstration of skill a woodengraving, copying a painting by Claude Lorain (1602-1682), much admired by William Turner, he lead and introduced me to Lorain's  many and brilliant “Etudes d’arbres”, study of trees.

With his friend Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) he must have spent many hours practising drawing trees with pen and ink. It looks sooooo easy. But isn't !

Contemporary landscape painters to Rembrandt (1606-1669) -above- they knew that how to draw trees well makes all the difference.  

Jules Pluyplat as a wood engraver also copied a painting by sculptor Theophile Barrau (1848-1913). This again leading me to one of the copies of Barrau's "Suzanne". For those who never visited the restaurant of Musée d'Orsay: so very beautiful !

Jules Puyplat was a contemporary of painter, illustrator, engraver and academy professor Luc-Olivier Merson (1846-1920) -below in his studio- who had taught also his (Jules' ) son   , Alice’s brother and Marcel Barons brother in law:

Albert Eduard Puyplat
(Paris 06-06-1876 - ??)

“Peintre” according to Benezit, but also an engraver and illustrator. I think he held with his father a respected position within the postage stamp design business because I found a stamp designed by A. Puyplat too (Timbre Tax Indochine, 1908). And an iconic advertising poster (below). 

He had been active, like his brother-in-law Marcel Baron, in Montmartre according to these naughty illustrations (see the subtle placed copy of notorious Gil Blas Magazine on the bedside table) that tells of a story in this artistic arrondissement of Paris. 

Before showing some more examples of Marcel Baron's better Paris city-views I think this trip gives us some more understanding of the times and world of the artist Marcel Lucien Baron. All information on the Baron and Puyplat family is welcomed and will be shared in this Blog.


Chiseled in the same monument and in the same grave (plot) are resting:

Jean Joseph Julien Godon

and his first and second wife. I suspect a family relationship here because he is also mentioned in Benezit: painter of "nature more", still-life, and a decorator. He also wrote a book that saw several editions and that was translated in English on colors and the technique of painting on linnen (as a decorational/mural painter). He also exhibited in the Salon in 1868. 

All pictures embiggen by mouse-click.

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only. 

Friday, 19 August 2016

Marcel Lucien Baron, a Paris aquatint etcher

Stumbling over a pair of aquatint etchings signed “Baron” in a local charity shop brings me to Paris today. Most people will consider this “Souvenir Art” (these color etchings obviously were produced for that purpose), "old fashioned" and perhaps not the most “artistic” or collectable prints: a poor man’s choice. They may have been in the shop for quite a while and before I cleaned them they were very browned and showing very unattractive. Well…………., after next postings you may think otherwise or decide for your selfs.

Thanks to the incredible possibilities of the Internet (a quick Google search) I learned one of them is actually showing Eglise Sainte Etienne du Mont in central Paris in the  “Quartier Latin”. Seen from the Rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève” just around “Place Larue”. I particularly love the wall with the advertisements. I think he was familiar with the works of a famous and very successful colleague working in Paris. 

And I like it. Very much. OK, it’s not a Tavik Frantisek  Simon (1877-1942) the undisputed king of printmakers of Paris street views. Not by far. Simon, who is very collectable and desirable nowadays, did not do “Eglise St. Etienne” but he choose “Eglise St. Severin” (500 meters away as the crow flies). And also used and included a blind wall with  advertisements............ And he was pretty good with figures. A print not to be picked up in car boot I'm afraid. 

By Eugene Atget (1857-1927) a pioneer Paris photographer

Among the many Baron prints that are available in Ebay every day (most of them however are not as good) this one is probably his finest. I think. Until now nobody ever bothered to look into the life of this bread and butter printmaker who simply signs “Baron”, a bit deeper. Showing some nice old photo’s from the same spot I'll try to avoid showing Barons many etchings here: I will make a selection for a later posting. There are some locations that are in need of identification too hopefully with the help of readers.  

 By "Yvon": Pierre Yves Petit (1886-1969) contemporary photographer of Marcel Lucien Baron 

I found his grave in "Cimetière Pere la Chaise", assuming the “peintre” who lies here is the artist signing the many Paris aquatint etching with a simple “Baron”. One can not be careful enough with assumptions. Until someone knows better let us assume:

Marcel Lucien Baron (Paris 14-06-1872 - 1956 Paris) is mentioned in Benezit Artist Dictionary: “Peintre de paysages forestiers“ (painter of forestry landscapes”, but there’s no mentioning of his graphic activities nor where or with whom he studied. He exhibited in the “Société Nationale des Beaux Arts”, in “Salon d’Automne” and with the “Indépendants. His woody landscape paintings seem all but forgotten a century later.


It would be nice to know who his parents (or family) were and where and with whom he’d studied. An interesting lead may be these two “Baron” artists I found in “Benezit, Dictionaire des Artistes”. Without speculating, I think there may be some clues here and the time-lines making it not impossible to suspect a relationship. Reasons to investigate further:

Stéphane Baron
 (Lyon 1830 or 32 – around 1921 probably Paris)

He is mentioned in Benezit too and remarkable enough as “Peintre et Aquafortiste” exhibiting also in Paris and winning prizes (1875 and 1926). Stéphane had been a student of his father, amateur engraver Jean Balthazar Baron (1788 -1869) and in Paris by Leon Cogniet (1794-1880) a historical painter, Prix de Rome winner and professor in the “Ecole des beaux Arts”, but best remembered as a teacher who taught over a hundred later well known artists but died forgotten in the 10th arrondisement in Paris and is also buried in Père-Lachaise. 

Jean Balthazar Baron
(Lyon 14-07-1788 - 24-06-1869 Lyon) 

“Manufacturer of silk products and judge at the “Tribunal de Commerce” 1843-1845 in Lyon. He started making lithographic prints 1824-25 before trying at etching of local (Lyon) motifs but also locations around Paris when he was there for his business trips. It is said his figures weren’t all that good but his work showed great love for nature” (Benezit).

A clue for a family connection might also be he used besides several signatures, a monogram J.B. but also: a simple: Baron. There has been recent interest in J.B. Baron’s work and career, a book was published and his work is collected in Lyon Museums.


But it was the finding of Marcel Baron’s wife, buried with him at Père Lachaise, that gave me a thrill. I'll tell you all about her in my next posting.

All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.