Claude Gellée, called Claude Lorrain

Claude Lorrain, Port de Mer au Fanal, etching

Le Port de Mer au Fanal

The Seaport with a Beacon

Mannocci 37 II (R-D 11, D 11, B 13, K 138, R 22)

etching, ca. 1640, a superb impression of the very rare second state of five*, printed with refined detail, on medium-weight laid paper, with the full Roman watermark of a "kneeling saint in a shield, holding a cross" (cf. Mannocci, Appendix 2 and 3, identifying a Roman paper dating to the late-16th to the mid-17th centuries), with small margins, very slight soiling on the reverse, two small strips of mounting tape along the upper edge, in quite excellent and surprisingly fresh condition

Provenance: a private American collection

Pl. 140 x 200 mm., S. 145 x 205 mm. Mannocci gives the plate dimensions as 139 (143) x 198 (201) mm., and the impression of state two in the Bibliothèque Nationale (which we have examined) is identical: 140 x 200 mm..

One of Claude Lorrain's best-known etchings, conceived at the height of his career, this very rare lifetime impression* of Le Port de Mer au Fanal demonstrates his refined interest in atmospheric effects, here a sunset highlighting a bustling harbour scene, and offsetting the beacon, just off-centre, haloed by a radiance in the background.

The first printings (or editions) of this remarkable etching are not known, though possibly the reason for the early (second-state?) addition of a marginal "7".**

*  Manocci distinguishes the second state from the third by stating that "the plate-corners are still sharp";  the subsequent alteration (of rounding off the plate corners) would seemingly have been undertaken in view of a first edition, as is commonplace, to avoid damaging the support sheet.

  The second state only differs from the first by the addition of a small numeral "7" in the left edge of the plate.  (Mannocci considers the addition of the marginal numbering to correspond to an editorial project, as yet unattested.)  He furthermore has not been able to locate any first state impressions (i.e., before the added numeral);  the so-called first-state impression in the Bibliothèque Nationale (as he notes) has had the numeral carefully scraped off.  Mannocci identifies only 5 impressions of the second state in public collections:  Cincinnati, Oxford, Paris (Bibliothèque Nationale, which we have examined, and Louvre), and Rome.