Sunday, 27 May 2012

A Ferat - Boudoir Art

......... more Boudoir Art, this time a minor artist who signs their work Ferat. This artist is rarely seen on for sale and when seen they are usually small scale oval etching/aquatints with a pretty girl in a puff ball or crinoline skirt. They are quite colourful and very pleasant innocuous images, not overly sexual just pretty, very girly - ideal for the ladies dressing room !

Do we have any clues to the artist ? Sometimes they are catalogued as A Ferat, W Ferat and even W Fedat. From various art indexes, I was quite surprised to find a few Ferat's; including; Jules Descartes Ferat (b1812). Pierre Ferat and Serge Ferat (1881-1958) - none of these look like possibles.

The only reference to "A Ferat" was found on ABE Book where he is listed as an artist the contributed an etching to a volume titled "Oeuvres complètes (XIV). CHOSES VUES (I-II)" by Victor Hugo.








Any help ? Please !!



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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Paul Emile Felix - Boudoir Art


Paul Emile Felix is considered one of the major artist working in the genre, his style is a little bit more reserved than Maurice Milliere or Louis Icart, less overtly sexual and more of the demure young lady enjoying life. Yes, sometimes their clothes have slipped a little, showing more than polite company would accept but on the whole, just beautiful pictures for your boudoir.


Whilst his works do appear on the market regularly, he was not as prolific as Jean Hardy or Icart, but they are seen more often than those by Georges Grellet or William Ablett, and from the edition sizes I guess thay were created for a wider audience that the niche market of the more erotic images. Where edition sizes and annotated they tend to be from 350, however, I rarely see a high numbered print, like 324/350, quite often they are low a number, which may suggest that not all of the 350 were printed.


Like so many of these boudoir artist printmakers, their life story has not been recorded. Paul Emile Felix is one such name that has failed to leave much of a mark, with little or no biographical details published. His legacy is his art. I have seen both auction houses and dealers stating that his full name was in fact Paul Emile Felix Raissiguier.


Paul Emile Felix Raissiguier (1851-1932) was an Algerian born French landscape and orientalist genre painter - is this our man ?? time to search for signatures. The oil painting here is title "Sunset" and signed "Emile Raissiguier 1881" and although this signed I can't see the signature clearly, but is doesn't look similar. On another landscape owned by the Ville D'Paris, the signature reads "E Rassiguier" - click here to view.

I have reservations about this attribution, nothing quite fits, it's not his style, signature or even name. The date don't feel correct either, these images tend to be the work of younger man, which often develop in to a more sophisticated style, Louis Icart for example. It would be unusual for an artist who specialised in landscapes and now in his lates 60's to suddenly develop a fresh "art deco" boudoir style more associated with someone in theirs 20's or 30's.

"Friends" signed P E Felix attributed to Raissiguier.
See - Annex Galleries

So who was he ?? Was "P E Felix" a pseudonym for another artist or perhaps the "Paul Emile" isn't even correct but just result of the earlier probably miss attribution ? ........... and that leads no where as well, no other Felix with initials of P E.............. but at the end of the day do we really need to worry ? NO of course we don't, they are all beautiful prints created to enjoy looking at and that reason is enough to continue to enjoy owning them.


Postcard versions of the etching were published in period by such companies as Editions E K & Co, Paris.
Also, cheap quality lithographic reproductions were available complete with facsimile signature and faux plate marks.



and just to avoid any confusion - here are sample pencil signatures for our P E Felix.


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Monday, 21 May 2012

Jean Hardy - Boudoir Art


Jean Hardy's Boudoir Art is hard to ignore, he was the most prolific artist, other than Louis Icart and is found everywhere. His etchings regularly come up at auction, both in the UK and in France, his etchings were reproduced in period as postcards and as calender prints. Yet, for someone now considered a "major artist" within this genre, his life is a blank.


Some collectors often neglect Hardy, taking him as a poor imitator of Icart or Felix and not worth any consideration. This is unjustly unfair. Yes, the quality of his work is variable, some are a little too sweet and formulaic whilst other are as good as any thing Icart, Felix or Grellet created. His work must have well received in period simply based to the volume of prints that survive - so it's time to reassess his contribution and hopefully find a few facts about his life and art.


Firstly, lets sort out the signature ?? Generally this is read as J Hardy and attributed to an artist with the name of Jean Hardy. However it is regularly read as and catalogued as T Hardy. Perhaps we have got it all wrong and it's not a Jean.


Off we go --- online art indexes are always a good place to start --- Artfact have several results showing these etchings and attributing them to the French sculptor Jean Hardy (1653-1737) !! Wow he must have been a progressive artist 200 years before the style was popular !! no facts there. Artnet have him as French 1880, is that a birth date ? Arcadja.com has his birth as both 1880 and 1900, they do list ham as Jean-Michel Hardy ? a new lead perhaps --- no such luck another dead end

Hardy's etchings come in al shapes and sizes. Circular and hexagonal formats and more unusual.


So we have a vast catalogue of work signed "J Hardy" which is universally accepted as being by Jean (male), who was almost certainly French, possibly born in 1880  and might also be known as Jean-Michel and who has apparently no recorded death ?? That's all clear !! One fact is certain and that he was a commercially successful artist who created a lasting catalogue of pictures, whose popularity has out lasted all memory of the artist himself. What better legacy to leave behind.



Dating these etching can be a bit of guess work, they all have a similar look, as if the artist's style has not evolved to reflect charges in fashion and taste. Perhaps these were all  created in a very short period of hyper creativity ? Although some etchings have copyright and publisher information etched into the plate, they don't always have dates. To assist with dating, looking at the postmarks on the postcard versions can provide a "not after date" and after viewing a fairly large sample of dates I would suggest that the period of creativity was between 1924 and 1928 -- no surprise !!

These two have an Louis Icart look and date c1925

Period postcards dating c1924 to 1928
Published by Edition Lx-Be in Serie No 1963  and Serie No 1964
another series is marked "Italien Gravure"


.... and lastly 

A postcard version of the first etching. We can assume that most of the other postcard images were available as original pencil signed etchings.


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Sunday, 20 May 2012

Max Brüning (1887-1968)


Max Bruning is one of the few non French artists that have been accepted as Boudoir artists. His pictures do have a different feel to the of the French artists, they have a harder edge to them, more hard core erotic than just a little bit sexy - distinctly Germanic.


Max was an accomplished German artist who from the age of 15 had studied at the Leipzig Academy of Art where he learnt printmaking techniques under Alois Kolb and Peter Halm.  He first exhibited his art in Munich in 1910 and during the First World War (1914-1918) he was commissioned as a war artist. His etching during this period include several moody studies of British Tommy prisoners of war.


Shortly after the war ended he settled in Berlin and began to create the wonderfully erotic engravings for which he is famous and later moving to the Tyrol in Austria. The majority of his plates were destroyed during bombing raids during 1943. His post war works was restricted to landscapes


Some of the boudoir girls have Milliere look, with the fluffy curled hair with hit of stocking tops, whilst others with whips and little else, don't require any imagination at all, a very overt message. His art wasn't limited to the erotic, he was just as able to capture life as real people with his portraiture, he created several etchings of his wife Mia, which as it appear regular must have been a well received and popular seller.


These two versions of similar girls would suggest he worked his plates to create new proofs. This is not a negative comment just an observation, many artists reworked plates, it is just the natural course of the evolution of their art. Look at Rembrandt and his numerous proofs !


These two look to be the same model or has he developed a look for all his subjects.


Max Bruning's pictures can be found as original etchings, heliograph copies of etchings and as sepia reproduction of etchings as postcards. The originals and those of most interest to collectors and usually signed in pencil and often marked "original radierung" that is original etching. Remember to look for the plate marks to ensure than you are not buying a giclee copy and look for good clean copies. There are period versions for all pockets, with the postcards costing as little as £5.00 up to many £100's for the more erotic image.

Sepia toned postcard version of his portrait etchings.
Some the erotic images are also to be found as postcards.

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