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Edouard Gautier Dagoty

(1745 Paris – 1783 Florence)

Vue d’une partie du pavé des Geants de Vals en Vivarais, prise sur les bords du Ruisseau du volant du coté du Port du Bridon. Etching. 32.2 x 45.9 cm. „Dessiné sur les lieux & gravé à l’eau forte, par Edouard Dagoty sous les yeux de M. Gaujas de St. Fond". Undescribed.

The etcher and draughtsman Edouard Gautier Dagoty was the son of Jacques Fabien Gautier le Père (1710–1781), who distinguished himself as a pioneer in the field of colour printing.

Edouard, whose dates have been passed on to us thanks to an engraved portrait by Carlo Lasinio, refined the printing technique of his father and continued to work as a reproductive engraver and author of botanical colour engravings. Dagoty’s printed œuvre is not very extensive, his whole artistic career being overshadowed by failure, in fact. Various journeys took the artist through the provinces of France as well as to Holland and Italy, where he stayed several times, dying there in 1783 at the early age of 38.

The curious print shows a view of a natural phenomenon to be found in the province of Vivarois, today’s département Ardeche, in the south-west of France. In an almost touchingly naive manner (could it be a juvenile work?), Dagoty depicts a harshly picturesque landscape of volcanic origin. The Pavé des Géants, a rock formation of black basalt, is a geomorphological curiosity which must have attracted the attention of travellers as early as the 18th century. In the right foreground, on the river bank, we see a man (Dagoty himself?), who is sat entering his observations in an open book with a quill, while a young shepherdess looks on from a distance. The details of the landscape and vegetation are rendered with painstaking precision. The bizarrely staggered rock formations and the honeycomb-like basalt pillars lend a peculiar charm to this intimate impression of nature. Despite certain shortcomings in the drawing and the awkward use of perspective, Dagoty has managed to produce an image of great individuality and atmosphere. Since the print was probably intended as a private souvenir or gift, the edition would have been very small.

An excellent and differentiated impression, trimmed to the platemark on three sides, with thread margins above. With traces of printing ink in the lower text margins and occasional needle proofs. Slight aging, otherwise in very good condition.

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