Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Pl. 11 Virginia Rose, Les Roses,  1817–24, stipple engraving

$1,875 this week only (list price $3,200). Offer expires 1-22-2017

Laura Oppenheimer

Pierre-Joseph Redouté Pl. 11 Virginia Rose, Les Roses., 1817–24, stipple engraving


Enjoy significant savings on a superb hand-colored stipple engraving, Plate 11 Virginia Rose, Rosa Lucida, Le Rosier Luisant, from Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s renowned monograph, Les Roses (1817–24).

The following excerpt, written by the French botanist Claude Antoine Thory (1759–1827), and translated from the original French text, accompanies the plate in the folio to provide details of the Virginia Rose's attributes, distribution, and care.

This rosebush...is five or six feet in height; its branches are glabrous with a few straight, geminous [twin], stipular thorns. The leaves consist of seven or nine oval leaflets, that are shining and glabrous [without hairs] above, and more pale underneath, uneven dental, carried by a petiole lined with a few fine thorns. The flowers are of a light pink, slightly odorous, of medium size, and are arranged in terminal corymbs, three to four together. The ovaries and peduncles are provided with some glandular and reddish hairs. Lobes of the calyx whole, a little spatulas at the top, about the length of the petals. The fruits are globose in form and red.

The shining Rosier naturally grows in North America; it is now very widespread in gardens, where a variety of semi-double flowers are still cultivated. When set in the noon light, it blooms in June; in the shade, it blooms only in August and September. It does not require any cultivation, but it requires good land.”

Every exquisite nuance of the Virginia rose's ideal form, color, and texture is conveyed in this plate. Stipple engraving finished by hand with exceptional à la poupée color. In perfect condition, folio size.

 $1,875 this week only (list price $3,200). Offer expires 1-22-17.


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Comprising 169 images, Les Roses was published in 30 parts between 1817 and 1824 and enjoyed immediate success. Redouté, masterfully employed stipple engraving to depict the translucency of the flower petals and portrait-like individuality of each leaf and flower. The intensity of inking and subtlety of coloring all contribute to engravings of unrivaled beauty.

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 was first trained by his artist father, Charles Joseph Redouté (1715–76). At the age of 15 he left to make a living as an itinerant painter and decorator. In 1782, his elder brother, Antoine Ferdinand Redouté (1756–1809), a highly regarded decorative artist, invited him to join him in Paris. There he began sketching rare plants at the Jardin du Roi. At the Jardin du Roi (now the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle), his art work was noticed by the Linnaean botanist Charles Louis L’Héritier and Gerard van Spaëndonck, Royal Professor of Painting. Redouté became L’Héritier and van Spaëndonck’s most gifted pupil. Gerard van Spaëndonck is recognized for developing 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. Many of the examples depicted in Les Roses are from Josephine Bonaparte’s gardens at Malmaison, as well as from other significant gardens of that time.

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


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