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Carle Vernet

(1758 Bordeaux – 1836 Paris)

Dogs dancing – La danse des chiens. Colour etching. 43.6 x 64.5 cm. Not in Le Blanc or Portalis-Beraldi; Dayot 64 II.

Carle Vernet is known primarily as a horse painter and lithographer, although he also made drawn models for reproductive engravers such as Charles François Gabriel Levachez and his son. Genre scenes like the present sheet, which is remarkable for the lavish arrangement and the wealth of anecdotal details and local colour, appealed to the artistic tastes of the aspiring bourgeoisie and were in great demand during the period of the Restoration. Such works were clearly intended not just for the French market. The bilingual subtitle indicates that English buyers were to be attracted as well. Levachez père et fils, who were both engravers, ran a publishing house for engravings in the colonnades of the Palais-Royal in Paris, where they were active from the late 18th century to about 1820. They specialised in colour engravings and in the early days mostly produced mostly portrait engravings. The present genre scene by Levachez fils, which probably arose between 1810 and 1820, illustrates the efforts they made to attract new groups of buyers for their opulently arranged genre pictures. The fact that works of this kind were mostly used to decorate homes and were thus subject to natural wear and tear explains their rarity. A very fine impression with thread margins around the platemark. Minor ageing, otherwise in very good condition.

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