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Giovanni Fattori

(1825 Livorno – 1908 Florence)

Contadino su un ciuco. Etching and drypoint in black ink, printed on zinc, on light wove paper. 16.4 x 26.7 cm. Baboni-Malesci CXIX, Chiappini 119.

This evocative, highly atmospheric print is a prime example of Fattori’s experimental etching technique, which was very advanced for his time. A rare etching, it derives its appeal from the great variety of graphic surface patterns, which blend to form a harmonious and markedly expressive synthesis. The terrain in the foreground is rendered with loose and open hatching, while the bushes in the background assume an increasing graphic density that is readily apparent. The resting mule is very deeply etched and forms a strong, dark spot of colour in counterpoint, as it were, while the upper body of the peasant boy sat on its back shines brightly and is invigorated by delicate plate tone. The proof has a wealth of subtle tonal transitions and is of the utmost graphic delicacy. The modesty of the subject matter notwithstanding, Fattori has succeeded in creating a little graphic masterpiece. A very fine, nuanced impression with wide margins. Minimal defects in the margins, otherwise in perfect condition.

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