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1722 Liege – 1776 Paris


Tête de Grec Moderne [Head of a Modern Greek] – before 1764


Crayon-manner etching and engraving in bistre after Charles Parrocel (French, 1688 – 1752). Size of sheet: 52 x 38.5 cm. Inscribed: “Parrocel in.” (at lower left); “Demarteau Scul. C P R” (lower right); “Du Cabinet de Mr. Lempereur” (at lower margin); “No I” (top left margin). Collector’s mark verso.


Leymarie, 1896, No.1, IFF 6:1 (II/II).


Provenance: Nils Petrus Rapp (1882 in Upsala – 1974 Stockholm) (Lugt 2130a).


Beautiful impression with full margins around the platemark on heavy watermarked laid paper (Gaudriault 300: Chaplet with Maltese cross). Slight thinning of paper on the right (verso) and some very light staining in the margins, otherwise in excellent condition.


Comparative impressions: Biblioteque Nationale de France - FRBNF44547204.



Gilles Demarteau the Elder after Parrocel: Tête de Grec Moderne

  • Though it’s one of his earlier works in new technique, Demarteau shows here a remarkable fidelity in his translation of Parrocel’s drawing style onto copperplate. The original red-chalk drawing by Parrocel was sold with the Cabinet of Jean Denis Lempereur on May 24, 1773. It is currently at the Städel Museum (Inv. No. 1294).

    Demarteau is credited with the invention of the so-called 'crayon-manner' engraving. Though Jean-Charles François (1717-1769) was officially recognized as the first to use this method in 1757, Demarteau perfected it further and used it with real artistic feeling and a style of his own. After his first collaboration with François in 1756 till his death, Demarteau published hundreds of chalk-manner prints. A large portion of those were after the drawings by Boucher and Huet.

    Almost all of Demarteau’s prints bear numbers that were inscribed into the copperplate at the time of publication. These numbers record the approximate order in which the prints were made and later served as the basis for a catalogue compiled in 1788 by the artist’s nephew and collaborator, Gilles-Antoine.


  • Leopold de Leymarie, L'oeuvre de Gilles Demarteau l'ainé graveur du Roi, Paris, 1896;

    Malcolm Salaman, French colour-prints of the XVIII century, 1913;

    Campbell Dodgson, Old French Colour-Prints, 1924;

    Margaret Crasselli, Colorful Impressions/The Printmaking Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France, 2008.


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