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Pierre-François Basan

1723–1797, Paris

Pierre-François Basan worked as an engraver and etcher but nowadays he is known primarily as an extremely successful publisher of prints from European countries. He underwent his initial artistic training in his native Paris at the hands of his cousin, Étienne Fessard, and the renowned engraver, Jean Daullé. As a young man he was later in close contact with the famous Pierre Jean Mariette, who taught him a great deal about the art of engraving. Basan first appeared as a publisher of prints in 1754. In the course of his career he travelled regularly to other European countries, such as England, Holland and Flanders, where he established important business contacts that were to prove profitable in many respects. Returning from abroad he brought with him a large number of different printing plates, which he later used as templates for renewed print editions. Basan was particularly fond of the art of Dutch and Flemish masters and his name is still associated today especially with reprints of the works of Rembrandt. Basan later employed a large number of talented young engravers in his publishing house, but their names are missing on many of the impressions he issued.