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Jean Jacques de Boissieu

(1736–1810, Lyon)

Le Moulin à Eau (A Mill across a Stream). Etching. 36.4 x 48.5 cm. 1782. De Boissieu 84, M.-F. Perez 84.

This print, which stands out in de Boissieu’s printed oeuvre for its sheer size alone, reproduces a painting by Jacob van Ruisdael that was formerly in the collection of the Geneva financier, François Tronchin. Boissieu reproduced Ruisdael’s composition the right way round, but he also made some changes. While the landscape and buildings are largely faithful to the original, the number of staffage figures has increased. In Ruisdael’s painting, for example, there is only one figure on the lock, whereas Boissieu shows four men at work. Most striking of all, however, is the charming little scene on the right of the picture, where Boissieu has added two artists busy drawing - an arresting detail that enriches the scene. The whole is treated in a finely detailed, varied and delicate etching technique which shows Boissieu at the very height of his art. This atmospheric sheet is one of his finest creations. A fine, harmonious impression with margins. Minimal condition problems, otherwise in excellent condition.

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