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Gabriel Perelle

(circa 1603 Vernon-sur-Seine (?) – 1677 Paris)

Six Landscapes with Scenes from the Life of Jesus. Six etchings. Each approx. 24 x 31.5 cm. Nagler 19, Le Blanc 39–44. Watermark: three-part coat of arms with lily, star and key.

From the 1630s onwards Gabriel Perelle ran one of the most productive and successful engraving studios in Paris. It soon had numerous employees on its books and was later taken over by his sons, the draughtsmen and printmakers, Adam and Nicolas Perelle. Gabriel arrived in Paris around 1620 and initially worked as valet to the Superintendent of Finances, Charles I, duc de La Vieuville, who recognised his artistic talent and enabled him to train in the studio of Daniel Rabel. Perelle subsequently honed his skills in Simon Vouet’s studio. Thanks to his aristocratic patron, the duc de la Vieuville, Perelle later received major commissions for series of prints.

Between 1635 and 1665, the year in which Louis XIV appointed him Directeur des Plans et des Cartes du Cabinet du Roi, the artist produced an extensive corpus of prints. Most of these works are landscapes and vedute, some of which are the products of his own imagination while others are topographically concise and frequently embellished with ruins and staffage figures. He also made views of palaces and gardens as well as a number of works with genre scenes and battle motifs.

The present rare series of landscapes shows various scenes from the life of Jesus, including the Flight into Egypt, the Baptism of Christ and the Entry into Jerusalem. Of outstanding beauty is the depiction of the Adoration of the Magi, which Perelle has un-characteristically set in a picturesque snowy winter landscape. The delicate bare branches form a highly evocative and graphically delightful surface pattern, while the very effective use of the white paper tone produces a captivating light effect. All the prints bear the artist’s signature and the address of the publisher Le Blond, which, according to Nagler, appears on Perelle’s early impressions.

The complete, six-print series is available in very fine to superb and partly tonal impressions with margins around the plate­mark. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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