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Giovanni Fattori

(1825 Livorno – 1908 Florence)

Paesaggio al tramonto (Landscape at Sunset). Etching and aquatint on zinc, printed on an ivory-coloured wove paper. 15 x 19.8 cm. Servolini 126. 

Man and animals disappear in an almost abstract lineal structure and are scarcely discernible in the surrounding, atmospherically charged landscape. Giovanni Fattori was an unsurpassed master in the rendering of light and air, developing an absolutely original and novel formal language in the 1880s. The print probably originates from the second half of that decade, when Fattori’s printed work was inspired by motifs from the rural life of the central Italian region of Maremma. In order to adequately capture the effect of the fading light at dusk the plate was subjected to extensive biting. Moreover, a soft metal like zinc proves to be a most suitable medium for producing a variety of rich tonal effects. As a consequence of the experimental character of Fattori’s printmaking, the individual impressions of one and the same print may differ considerably. On our impression the stone path, somewhat right of centre, is optically highlighted, as a comparison with the uniformly treated proof from the Museo Civico in Livorno shows (Giovanni Fattori, Lugano 2003, p. 120, No. 94). The large rocks catch the light amid the sparse vegetation and draw the viewer’s gaze into the distance. A different and much more intense tonal effect is achieved by the deeply etched trees on the horizon, whose branches loom an eerie black against the twilit evening sky.

A very fine, rich impression printed with tone and with fiull margins. Minor traces of handling, slight paper discoloration at three places along the upper margin, otherwise very well preserved. Verso with the stamp of the Simonetti Collection, Rome, and the embossed stamp of the Libreria Prandi, Reggio Emilia.

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