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Jean-Louis Demarne

(1744 Brussels – 1829 Paris)

Peasant Scene. Etching. 24 x 35.9 cm. Watelin 38; IFF p. 229, under no. 5, G. 38; Hippert/Linnig 35 (state I of II).

Demarne’s Belgian nationality has often been cited to explain the artist’s penchant for genre scenes in the manner of 17th century Dutch and Flemish masters such as Dujardin, Cuyp and van Ostade. However, Brussels was merely the city where his father, a French officer, was stationed. After his father’s death the twelve-year-old Demarne moved to Paris, where he underwent artistic training at the hands of Gabriel Briard.  After an unsuccessful attempt to win the Prix de Rome in 1774 (the winner that year was Jacques-Louis David) Demarne decided to dedicate himself to genre and landscape painting. His career evolved largely outside the official institutions. He never became a member of the Académie and rejected membership of the Institut de France. His creative output appealed to a substantial number of private collectors nonetheless. The artist’s printed oeuvre, consisting of some 40 etchings and a few lithographs, reveals the same interest in animal depictions, peasant scenes and landscapes as his painted work. The present print is a typical example of the kind of genre scenes that established Demarne’s popularity. Only one state is known but this seems unlikely to be a finished plate. As most of the impressions show the same printing ink stains, it is conceivable that a technical problem during the printing process forced the artist to abandon the plate before completion.

A very fine impression with thread margins. Some foxing, ink stains around the upper border, repaired folds in the upper left and right corners, pencil inscriptions on the reverse, otherwise well preserved.

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