Apr 12, 2006

Delpech Lithographic Print Shop

Delpech Lithographic Print Shop

c. 1818

Carle Vernet

(French, 1758–1836)


Sheet: 26 x 34.4 cm (10 1/4 x 13 9/16 in.); Image: 16.9 x 24.3 cm (6 5/8 x 9 9/16 in.)

Twenty-fifth anniversary gift, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Williams Collection 1941.251

Catalogue raisonné: Béraldi vol. XII.207.507; Dayot 152



The Delpech shop was a printing and retail establishment in Paris. Since the lithographic printing process is complex, requiring stones, presses, and skilled printers, artists went to workshops to make prints. Artists liked the medium's flexibility: while one could draw freely, it was also possible to execute an extremely detailed rendering. Further, while rich blacks could be achieved for shadows so could a great tonal range of grays. Since numerous impressions can be printed from the lithographic stone, this new printmaking technique made it possible to reproduce images inexpensively. Consequently, by 1818, it was a very popular medium, and as this contemporary image depicts, prints could be purchased either singly or in albums. The boy carrying a lithographic stone on his head was probably going to deliver it to one of the artists employed by Delpech.

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