Albert Besnard

Original Prints: Etchings, Drypoints


Although lesser known today, Paul-Albert Besnard (1849 - 1934) was a major figure of French art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, notably having won the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome for his picture La Mort de Timophane in 1866.

He was quite active in academic life as well, serving as director of the Villa Medicis in Rome (1913), member of the Academie Française (1924) and director of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1926).

His graphic work is abundant and quite creative, comprising more than 200 prints in various media, though mostly etchings, with an attentive use of various texturing techniques.  It is notable too

Albert Besnard, La Robe de Soie, circa 1887, etching with aquatint,

La Robe de Soie

[The Silk Gown]

Godefroy 66.3

etching with drypoint, roulette and aquatint, 1887, a very fine impression printed in rich bistre, aside from the edition, on cream Japon paper, with full though uneven margins

This print is one Albert Besnard's best known, and one of his masterpieces in the genre, seeking to render the refined moiré effects of the sitter's elaborate gown.


Albert Besnard, La mère Malade, circa 1889, etching with drypoint and aquatint,

La Mère Malade

[The Sick Mother]

Godefroy 90.2

etching with drypoint and aquatint, 1889, a splendid proof impression printed in black, the extremely rare second state of five, signed, numbered and annotated by the artist, on fine off-white antique laid paper, with full though uneven margins

One of Albert Besnard's most touching prints focusses on familial intimacy, the daughter at bedside bringing a bowl of soup, her younger brother quizzically attentive.