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Studio: international art — 6.1896

Seite: 148
DOI Heft: DOI Artikel: DOI Seite: Zitierlink: i
http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/studio1896/0161
Lizenz: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen Nutzung / Bestellung
0.5
1 cm
facsimile
Modern Colour Engraving

" LE SOIR "

MODERN COLOUR EN-
GRAVING. WITH NOTES
ON SOME WORK BY
MARIE JACOUNCHIKOFF.
BY OCTAVE UZANNE.

The art of engraving in colour—that delicate
harmonious art, so subtle in effect, so ingenious in
process—which seems to have reached its apogee,
both in England and in France at the commence-
ment of this century, was to all appearance lost for
a period of more than sixty years. It would be
hard to name ten, or at most fifteen, engravers or
aquafortists who, since 1820, have achieved any
real success in the difficult work of decompos-
ing colours and reconstituting them on separate
copper plates. One might have imagined
that all taste had been lost for these delicious
prints, done in aquatint, on six, seven, or
eight different plates, carefully printed one over
the other in order to produce the effect of
a vaporous water-colour or a finely coloured
drawing.

From the time of J. Christophe Leblond, the
Frankfort engraver, who, about 1780, was the first
to put into successful practice Newton's theories
about colours—that is, the exact reproduction of
every tone in a painting by the use of only the
three so-called primitive colours, yellow, blue, and
red—the art of colour engraving on copper made
148

FROM A COLOURED ENGRAVING BY MARIE JACOUNCHIKOFF

continuous progress for over sixty years. The
practical invention of Leblond was considerably
improved upon by such men as Descourtis,
Janinet, Jazet, Debucourt, Raimbach, Samuel,
William Reynolds and Cousins, who added to the
three primitive colours all the intermediary tints,
the fine greys, the mixed blues, the special greens,
and the supplementary blacks, and thus it was the
famous engraving by Debucourt, known as La
Promenade an Palais Royal, came to be made up
of no less than eight successive plates, placed one
upon the other, first the yellows, and then the blues,
the greys, the reds, the separate greens, and the
essential blacks.

This brilliant school of engravers of stipple and
wash work left behind them numerous master-
pieces, both in London and in Paris, but whether
from mere fickleness of fashion—which has its
influence on all the arts—or because the worker's
knack was lost, the fact remains, that by the year
1820 polychrome engraving had greatly degene-
rated, and for more than fifty years after no vigorous
shoot appeared on the withered trunk of this tree
of art, precious alike to the painter-engraver and
to the translator on copper.

For more than forty years all engraving was done
in monochrome, which enabled a great number of
aquafortists to display their talent, their individ-
uality, and their inventive power; but all the time
they seemed to ignore the possibility of reproducing
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