An eccentric and secretive artist who died mad at the notorious asylum in Charenton, Charles Meryon (1821-1868) was a consummate craftsman when it came to etching. He gave new life to the concept of the "original print" through a steadfast commitment to his art, with a prodigious œuvre of more than 100 works.
Partial to stark, meticulously handled architectural views of 19th century Paris, his subjects often take on a disquieting note in a style that, to paraphrase the Goncourt brothers, could well be called "fantastic realism."
Delteil 23, Wright 23, Schneiderman 27
This stark close-up of the famous Notre Dame chimera, amidst swirling birds, with the Tour Saint Jacques in the background, shows Meryon's fascination with fantastic themes.
Delteil 36, Wright 36, Schneiderman 42
The riverfront at the mortuary serves as staging for a tragically animated scene in one of Meryon's most renowned prints.