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Philippe-Auguste Hennequin

(1762 Lyon – 1833 Tournai)

Diana and Endymion. Etching. 16.9 x 21.7 cm. Inventaire du Fonds Français 3.

The painter and printmaker, Philippe-Auguste Hennequin, studied under Jacques-Louis David, which prompted Jules Renouvier to remark that he “avait embrassé les principes académiques de son maître avec la même rigueur que ses sen­timents révolutionnaires”. Having completed his training, the artist was a pensionnaire at the Académie de France in Rome, but was obliged to flee from Italy in 1789 in the face of revolutionary activities there and subsequently worked as a painter in Paris and Lyon. Hennequin was arrested in the repression which followed the 9th Thermidor (27 July 1794) and only escaped execution thanks to the good offices of the politician, François de Neufchãteau. From then on Hennequin kept well away from any form of political activity, working exclusively as a painter during the Empire period.

Hennequin produced monumental battle scenes at Bonaparte’s behest and enjoyed the protection of Vivant-Denon. The artist remained true to his political beliefs, however, joining his teacher David in exile in Belgium after the return of the Bourbons in 1815. Hennequin’s etchings date to his early period and are extremely rare. Renouvier records a total of five works (J. Renouvier, Histoire de l’art pendant la Révolution, Paris 1863); the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris has just four etchings, including the present composition. The print on offer here, which has been executed in an incisive and refined etching technique, bears two signatures by the artist, which may be an indication that he was extremely pleased with the work. The elegance of the figure style and the compositional succinctness of this small, precious print are fully in line with the neoclassical ideal of beauty.

A superb impression, printed with delicate tone. With even margins around the distinct platemark. In mint condition.

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