Pierre-Joseph Redouté(1759-1840). Rosa Longifolia From Les Roses.
From Les Roses.
Hand-colored stipple engraving.
Paper Size: 14” x 10 1/2”.
Extremely rare print, from one of probably only 5 large paper editions that were hand-colored by Redouté himself.
Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s Roses are perhaps his most celebrated images, which the artist issued while under the patronage of the Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon. The flowers are classical “portraits” which lack backgrounds or settings. The regal simplicity of the compositions allows the viewer to focus without distraction on the beauty and delicate complexity of the plants themselves. This image demonstrates the flawless and pristine French style of botanical art that Redouté pioneered and brought to a pinnacle of quality. Redouté is unquestionably the best-known botanical illustrator of any era. The decorative appeal of his original engravings has led to their modern reproduction, which in turn has popularized Redouté’s work in a way unique among botanical artists. Yet no reproduction can capture the great and subtle beauty of his original engravings from Les Roses. This magnificent engraving demonstrates the full mastery of his abilities, as the form of the rose is set off dramatically by Redouté’s masterful and rich modulations of tone and hue. Born into a family of artists in what is now Belgium, Redouté’s talent was recognized and encouraged from an early age. Eventually, Redouté had, as pupils or patrons, five queens and empresses of France, from Marie-Antoinette to the Empress Josephine and her successor, Marie-Louise. Despite many changes of regime in a turbulent epoch, he worked without interruption, eventually contributing to over fifty works on natural history and archeology. The luminosity of stipple engraving, a technique perfected by Redouté, is particularly suited to the reproduction of botanical detail. The medium involved engraving a copper plate with a dense grid of dots that could be modulated to convey delicate gradations of color.