A Selection of Twenty of the Most Picturesque Views in Paris: The Water Works at Marli, and St. Germain en Laye seen in the distance

A Selection of Twenty of the Most Picturesque Views in Paris: The Water Works at Marli, and St. Germain en Laye seen in the distance

1803

Thomas Girtin

(British, 1775-1802)

aquatint by

J.B. Harraden

(British)

Softground etching and aquatint printed in brown, hand-colored with watercolor

Support: Wove paper

Sheet: 45.3 x 63.2 cm (17 13/16 x 24 7/8 in.); Platemark: 22.7 x 54.5 cm (8 15/16 x 21 7/16 in.)

Gift of John Bonebrake 2006.226

Catalogue raisonné: Abbey 102, 15b with letters

Location

Description

Girtin, along with his rival J. M. W. Turner, extended the technical possibilities of watercolor and in doing so demonstrated that watercolors could have the visual impact of oils. His reduction of landscape to simple and monumental forms, his panoramic compositions, and his sensitivity to natural effects, such as cloud formations, influenced subsequent generations of watercolor painters. Anxious to take advantage of the Peace of Amiens (October 1, 1801), Girtin went to Paris to see the artistic treasures brought back from Italy by Napoleon and installed in the Louvre. He made graphite sketches of the city and its environs and upon his return to London made etchings based on his drawings. Girtin died of tuberculosis shortly thereafter, and the series was published by his widow and brother.

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