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Charles Méryon

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Charles Méryon
20th century
(Paris, 1821 - 1868, Charenton-le-pont)

After a stint in the navy, Méryon moved to Paris in 1848 and began his artistic career in the painting studio of an academic artist. When he was diagnosed with color blindness, he went to study with a Barbizon artist, Eugène Bléry, who taught him etching by having him copy the prints of Adriaen van de Velde, among other Old Masters. Méryon was one of the first proponents of the Etching Revival in France. Printmaking in the early nineteenth century had been dominated by the persistent tradition of reproductive engraving and the new technique of lithography. His interest in Baroque artists, such as Rembrandt, prompted Méryon’s pursuit of etchings as a means of original artistic expression. His juxtaposition of densely hatched areas and pools of open space resulted in a surface that throbs with tension and suggests the macabre sensations affected by his deteriorating mental state.

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