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Prints - French 14th-18th c.

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Cupid and Psyche, after François Boucher

1766
18th century
29.4 cm x 36.7 cm (11 9/16 in. x 14 7/16 in.)

Jean-Claude-Richard de Saint-Non (Paris, 1727 - 1791, Paris) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, French
Medium and Support: Etching and aquatint printed in brown
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1995
Accession Number: 1995.21

Jean-Claude-Richard de Saint-Non’s innovations in the field of printmaking rank him as one of the most important amateurs of the eighteenth century. In 1765 he worked with professional printmaker Jean-Baptiste Delafosse to devise the new method of aquatint, which could reproduce the broad tones of wash drawings with a consistency that had eluded engraving and other experiments to that point. This sheet is one of only four known impressions of his earliest attempts in the new medium. It faithfully reproduces François Boucher’s sensuous pen-and-wash technique. Saint-Non produced four other aquatints after Boucher in 1766, but it is believed that Boucher discouraged their publication and distribution, which accounts for their rarity.
A younger son in a wealthy family, Saint-Non was destined for the priesthood, but his avid interest in art led him to take only minor orders. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, meeting Jean-Honoré Fragonard at the Académie de France in Rome. Saint-Non used his friend’s drawings made after the Italian masters as the source for his volume of engravings of selected masterpieces in Italy. On the basis of his substantial collection, his patronage of contemporary artists, and his important innovations in printmaking, the Académie Royale de Peinture et de la Sculpture elected Saint-Non an honorary member.

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