MANUEL ROBBE (1872 – 1936) (French)
“Fleur d’Automne” 1903
Original etching & aquatint printed in colours
Signed in Pencil
From the edition of 100 signed proofs. Published by Sagot, Paris
Image size 19 ½” x 14 7/8” (495mm x 378mm).
Manuel Robbe is widely regarded as the greatest colour printmaker of the Parisian Belle époque. Master of the drypoint and aquatint process, Robbe captured the elegance of his era. Born in Paris on December 16th 1872 he was descended from a northern French Family from the town of Berthune. He studied painting and etching and soon became an accomplished engraver, specializing in the medium of aquatint. He exhibited regularly at the Salons of the Societé des Artistes Francais. Edmond Sagot, one of the most significant publishers of prints at the turn of the century was a great admirer of Manuel Robbe and regularly published colour prints by him. In 1900 Manuel Robbe was awarded a gold medal at the Universal Exhibition for his prints. In 1905 he transferred his allegiance from the Societé des Artistes Francais to the Societé Nationale des Beaux-Arts, in whose annual Salons he exhibited. In 1902-03 the prestigious Art Critic Gabriel Moury, writing for the English based “The Studio” noted that “Robbe especially excels in depicting the modern woman”. Robbe developed an outstanding painterly manner through applying colour inks to his aquatint and drypoint plates in a manner known as “À la poupée”. In Robbe’s case, this involved painting and dabbing the various colours of inks onto the plate which was then printed with all of the colours together, in one pull. This had the effect of causing the areas of colour to merge together, blending into one another, to create a diffuse atmospheric effect and a subtle, graduated spectrum. It is Robbe’s sensitivity to printing in this manner allied to the sweeping fluency of his drypoint line and his fluid aquatint brush work which so distinguishes his brilliant colour prints.