Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Pl. 469 Barbados Lily, Fire Lily, Les Liliacées,  1802–16, stipple engraving

$7,350 this week only (list price $10,500). Offer expires 7-3-2017

Laura Oppenheimer

Pierre-Joseph Redouté Pl. 469 Barbados Lily, Fire Lily, Les Liliacées, 1802–16, stipple engraving


Enjoy significant savings on a superb hand-colored stipple engraving, Plate 469 Barbados Lily, Fire Lily, Amaryllis brasiliensis, Amaryllis brasilienne, from Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s renowned monograph, Les Liliacées (1802–16)Showing bulb, stem, leaves, and blossoms, Redouté's graceful and delicate handling of the composition and depiction of the exquisite form of the plant in a play of glowing light, captures this most lovely of amaryllis plants.

In the "Observations" given for this plant in the accompanying text, (translated from French from Les Liliacées, vol. 8) some comparisons are offered in order to demonstrate the differences between related species of amaryllis. "Amaryllis brasiliensis produces more flowers in the umbel than are produced by Amaryllis reginae and Amaryllis equestris.... Their colors make them easy to distinguish; But it is necessary to assign to these plants botanical characteristics derived from the form of the flowers and their parts.

The tube is long and narrow in the Amaryllis equestris, and is short in Amaryllis reginae and brasiliensis. Styles and stigmata seem to offer also differences which one does not notice enough, because one does not see these plants blooming at the same time as the others.

This plant...happens to be native of Brasil. We saw [it] in bloom in April, in one of the greenhouses of the garden of M. Boursault." 

In Volume 1 of The Quarterly Journal of Science and Arts, Edited at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, published in 1816, the very year that Les Liliacées was completed, an "emendation of the names and synonymy, by far the least commendable of that splendid undertaking," was given as necessary of the species presented in the folio, with added notes "as we may deem of use." (page 169) For Plate 469, Amaryllis brasiliensis, it was noted that, "The plant, which is offered here as a distinct species, is no other than...a cross production between vitatta and Reginae. It was produced in our gardens some few years back from seed, procured by the union of two species brought together with that view. It forms a very handsome plant, uniting the principal beauties of both parents; and flowers constantly in Spring, when it is seen in most of our principal nurseries, and it goes by the name of Amaryllis Johnsoniana." (page 177)  

Comprising 503 plates, only 200 copies of Les Liliacées were produced, appearing in 80 parts from 1802 to 1816. Josephine Bonaparte’s support made the work possible, herself ordering several sets.The flawless bone-white paper in this folio allows the brilliance of color and nuance of tonality to shine through. It is not possible to overstate the beauty of the plates in this folio. 

Stipple engraving finished by hand with exceptional à la poupée color. P. J. Redouté pinx.; Lemercier sculp. In perfect condition, folio size, 19.75 x 13.5 inches.

 $7,350 this week only (list price $10,500). Offer expires 7-3-17.


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Considered to be a French artist, Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759–1840) was born in the village of Saint-Hubert, now a part of Belgium. The descendant of a long line of painters, he received his first training as an artist from his father, Charles Joseph Redouté (1715–76). At the age of 13, he left Saint-Hubert to make a living as an itinerant painter and decorator. During this period he studied the old masters, and in particular, was influenced by the work of the 18th-century Dutch flower painter, Jan van Huysum. In 1782, his elder brother, Antoine Ferdinand Redouté (1756–1809), a highly regarded decorative artist, invited him to join him in Paris as a stage-set designer. There, in his spare time, he began sketching rare plants at the Jardin du Roi (now the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle). There, his artistic talent came to the attention of the Linnaean botanist Charles Louis L’Héritier and Gerard van Spaëndonck, Royal Professor of Painting, and they became Redouté’s mentors. Gerard van Spaëndonck developed the watercolor technique that Redouté later popularized.

In 1786, Redouté spent a brief period in England where he was introduced to the stipple-engraving technique. Employed at that time primarily for portraiture, it is a process of incising minute depressions in a copper plate forming a field of dots rather than lines. Stipple engraving is sublimely suited to conveying the subtle tonal gradations of watercolors. Redouté, who is credited with perfecting this technique said, “The process which we invented in 1796 for color printing consists in the employment of these colors on a single plate…. We have thereby softness and brilliance of a watercolor.” The dynamic realism he achieved surpassed all previous attempts at color botanical printmaking. In recognition of this valuable contribution, Redouté was awarded a medal by Louis XVIII.

On the eve of the French Revolution, Redouté was named to the position of Draftsman to the Cabinet of Marie Antoinette. Remarkably, he not only survived the Revolution, but attracted the patronage of Josephine Bonaparte in a seamless transition from the royal court to the French Republic. In 1798, Josephine Bonaparte acquired a grand estate, Malmaison, and began to fill its gardens with the rarest plants that the old and new worlds could furnish. Redouté flourished under Josephine’s reign.

In 1798, Josephine Bonaparte acquired a grand estate, Malmaison, and began to fill its gardens with the rarest plants that the old and new worlds could furnish. Redouté flourished under Josephine’s reign, publishing during this period the monumental Les Liliacées (1802-1816), naming the most dramatic plate after his benefactress, the “Amaryllis Josephinae“. Napoleon divorced Josephine in 1809, and she died in 1814. In the absence of Josephine’s patronage, Redouté’s fortunes began to decline. Somewhat impoverished, he died in 1840, suffering a stroke.

For further information or to purchase, please call the gallery at 312-642-5300.


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