Thésé Combattant le Minotaure Barye, Antoine-Lewis  (French, 1795-1875)

This beautifully produced book contains sixteen very fine Goupil photogravures from photographs of bronze sculptures.

What makes these prints particularly compelling is the subtitles resulting from combining a dark reflective object, a dark background and a light-absorbing ink surface. Exquisite skill was required by the photographer, plate maker and printer to achieve separation in the dark tones of these prints. In some cases it is obvious that the background was enhanced by hand to make it darker and in other cases the evidence of handwork is seen as a subtle dark ‘halo’ around the object insuring its visual separation from the background.

The photogravures are clearly photographic but yet have a surreal aftertaste – a beauty that thrives with the ink-on-paper photographic syntax.

Antoine-Louis Barye (24 September 1795 – 25 June 1875) was a Romantic French sculptor most famous for his work as an animalier, a sculptor of animals by Barye was best-known for his realistic sculptures of animals. His preference for small-scale works, while depriving him of many public commissions, made his work affordable and available to a wider public.


Hanson, David Checklist of photomechanical processes and printing 1825-1910, 2017 p,. 121 see Russelon