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Claude Louis Masquelier

(called le fils, 1781–1852, Paris)

Figure qui a remorte le grand prix de la gravure / au concours de l’an XIII. Engraving. 41.9 x 30 cm. Not in Nagler or Le Blanc.

Having studied under his father, Louis Joseph Masquelier, the engraver, Claude Louis Masquelier, was then apprenticed to Pierre Gabriel Langlois (1754–1810). His talent as a printmaker was soon spotted and in 1804 the young artist won the Grand Prix for engraving. Masquelier subsequently lived and worked in Rome, later becoming a teacher at the city’s Académie de France. Nagler and Le Blanc record his modest oeuvre of repro­ductive engravings. Oddly enough, the present engraving with which Masquelier won the Grand Prix in 1804 is not included.

The male nude has been executed in a technically advanced, sophisticated and detailed engraving technique which impressively illustrates the young artist’s skills. The muscular body with the arms folded above the head stands out starkly from the white background. The classical hairstyle and the pubic and underarm hair are rendered in very fine, delicate lines. Innumerable fine stipples and narrow hatching patterns produce soft transitions that enhance the three-dimensional quality of the athletic male body, which corresponds fully with the neo-classical ideal of beauty and also shows that the artist was familiar with Antonio Canova’s sculptures.

A superb, contrasting and harmonious impression with the full margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in mint condition. Mounted at the edges on the original mounting paper.

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