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Souvenirs de voyage. Etching on ivory-coloured wove paper. 24 x 33.7 cm. 1862. Gonse 329; Goncourt, Estampes modernes, 1897, p. 26; Béraldi 329; Inventaire du Fonds Français 31.
The painter, printmaker and art collector, Jules Ferdinand Jacquemart, shared the fate of several of his contemporaries in that they rapidly fell into oblivion after their deaths and have only recently been rediscovered. He was the son and pupil of the painter and art writer, Albert Jacquemart (1808–1875) and self-taught as a printmaker. In 1862 Jacquemart was one of the founding members of the Société des Aquafortistes who, at the instigation of the publisher, Alfred Cadart, made the systematic distribution of prints their main objective. The present etching formed part of the society’s fifth portfolio. In the renowned Gazette des Beaux-Arts, which had published etchings by Jacquemart at an early stage, the influential critic, Philippe Burty, praised the present etching in effusive tones (P. Burty, “Société des Aquafortistes”, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 14, 1863, p. 191).
The print shows carelessly discarded, partly worn-out shoes of varying styles. A painter’s palette with brushes, a cloth and a roll of drawing paper suggest that the scene is taken from the artist’s own studio. Jacquemart was a fanatical collector of shoes. He was the proud owner of a collection of over three hundred pairs of very different origins and periods which were exhibited in the Musée de Cluny in Paris in 1880 after they had been officially acquired by the French state. In his profound essay on Jacquemart, James A. Ganz points to the significant influence the Société des Aquafortistes and its publications had on the work of Vincent van Gogh (see James A. Ganz, “Jules Jacquemart: Forgotten Printmaker of the Nineteenth Century”, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. 87, no. 370 (Spring 1991), pp. 14–16). The comparison between Jacquemart’s Souvenirs de voyage and van Gogh’s painting Three Pairs of Shoes from 1886–87 (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.) is very revealing in this respect. A superb, contrasting proof impression, before all letters, with the full margin. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.