Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Art: Les Nageurs

Anonymous: Les Nageurs (The Swimmers), from the series Le Supreme Bon Ton, No. 15
Martinet, Paris, c. 1810-1815

I found that a copy of this can be bought on the web:

"ANONYMOUS Les Nageurs: Le Supreme Bon Ton, No. 15Paris: Published by Chez Martinet, Libraire, rue du Coq St. Honore, circa 1810-1815. Engraving with superb original colour. Printed on laid. In excellent condition. Image size: 6 ¾ x 9 ¾ inches. 8 ¼ x 10 1/8 inches. 10 ½ x 14 1/8 inches.
This witty caricature of Parisians swimming, comes from a series of extremely rare prints entitled "Le Supreme Bon Ton," which chronicle the fashions and pursuits of the Parisian elite at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This magnificent suite was published in Paris by Martinet between 1810 and 1815 and is one of the earliest series of prints to document the social trends and leisure activities of contemporary Parisians. Early impressions of these fine engravings are extremely rare, and Colas mentions only seeing examples of these images in a later reprint. For the most part, it is unclear who engraved these subtle caricatures since the majority of the plates bear no reference to an engraver. For all but two of the suite, which are signed A. G. implying they were engraved by Ambroise Garneray, it is likely that Martinet prepared the plates for publication. Along with Le Bon Genre, "Le Supreme Bon Ton" is one of the most important visual records of Parisian life at the dawn of the nineteenth century. These delicate images are as much fashion prints as they are social caricatures, and they chart the rise of Paris as a modern metropolis. Reflected in these images we see Paris's bourgeois fashions, its leisure pursuits, and its dating customs. This series not only influenced the fashion journals that became so popular in France at mid-century, but also the caricature albums that became so prolific. With delicacy and beauty, "Le Supreme Bon Ton" bears witness to the colourful episodes of Paris's social life at the end of the French Revolution and at the rise of the new Republic. These compelling images are an invaluable record of Parisian life, documenting the tastes and pursuits of its citizens with a sensitivity and humor that is truly unique. Colas, Bibliographie generale du costume et de la mode, p. 1010-1011, no. 2837, no. 15.Price: USD 575.00 "

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

‎1814-15: Illustrator; Louis Marie Lante. Published in a fashion Journal " Journal des Dames et des Modes" (Pierre de La Mesangere)
A French satire of the ill-fashioned and ill-mannered English.