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La fillette au volant. Engraving after Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin. 28.5 x 20.9 cm. 1742. Inventaire du Fonds Français 63.
The painter, engraver and art writer, François Bernard Lépicié, studied in Paris under Jean Mariette and Gaspard Duchange. From 1737 he was employed as ‘secrétaire historiographique’ at the Académie Royale, to which he was admitted as a full member in 1740. The reproductive engravings and occasional paintings which Lépicié exhibited at the Paris Salon in the years that followed regularly met with success.
The present engraving of 1742 reproduces in reverse a painting by Chardin which was exhibited to great public acclaim at the Paris Salon in 1737. It is undoubtedly one of the most charming subjects from the artist’s entire painted oeuvre. In the Lettres du Commissaire Dubuisson au Marquis de Caumont, for example, the author writes: “J’ai été enchanté par de petites fantaisies d’un M. Chardin. C’était une petite fille jouant au volant... Quand on parle de la vérité en peinture, c’était là qu’il fallait la chercher pour etre sûr de la trouver” (exhibition catalogue Chardin, Grand Palais, Paris 1979, p. 236).
The scenes from everyday life which Chardin rendered in his paintings with incomparable sensitivity contributed significantly to his enormous reputation and indirectly to that of Lépicié, too, who became one of the foremost reproducers of Chardin’s works in prints. La fillete au volant vividly documents the tremendous refinement of his engraving technique. Delicate, transparent hatching patterns alternate with fine stippling to produce an intense realism and materiality. A very fine, crisp impression with even margins. Minimal traces of handling, otherwise in excellent condition.Contact us for further information