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Giovanni Fattori

(1825 Livorno – 1908 Florence)

La Casa a Bauco (House in Bauco). Etching on zinc, printed on wove paper. 22.6 x 13.2 cm. Baboni-Malesci CXI; Chiappini 110.

This atmospherically dense etching, which belongs to Fattori’s late work, arose during the journey the artist undertook in 1904 to the village of Bauco in the region of Ciociaria. Giovanni Fattori was an unsurpassed master in the rendering of light and atmosphere, and in the 1880s he developed a completely independent and novel formal idiom. He frequently used zinc plates to achieve a rich tonal effect. The soft metal, which facilitates a more spontaneous, freer drawing style, is thus an ideal medium for a wide range of painterly and atmospheric effects. The editions are smaller than with copper plates, though. The experimental character of Fattori’s etching means that individual prints of the same sheet can also differ greatly.

The present, contemporary impression was most likely printed using his small hand press. The individual elements of the composition merge into a richly differentiated graphic surface pattern that borders on the abstract. The tonal richness and the all but tangible quality of the printing ink are comparable to the impression in the Gabinetto delle Stampe of the Uffizi in Florence (GAM 222). Only a few impressions of the etching have survived. A rich, striking and contrasting impression with thread margins around the platemark.

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