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Chambly, QC

Jan Johnson established her company in London in 1979 after six years in the Old Master Print Department of the distinguished firm P & D Colnaghi. In 1982 she moved the business to Montreal, Quebec, and then in2008 to the historic town of Chambly. Besides mounting many exhibitions in Canada over the years, the company has participated in numerous print fairs in the United States and is a founding member of the IFPDA. In her own right, Jan Johnson has published scholarly work, taught university courses, and been an invited curator.

Our prints have found a home in many of the world’s great museums and we prize our relationships with private collectors.

Image:

Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1757-1835): La récolte des pommes (The Apple Harvest)

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The prints I have chosen for my exhibition include well-known images, such as the striking composition by Hans Baldung Grien in which St. Paul and his wonderful horse crumple before the vision of Christ that interrupts them on the road to Damascus. The emotion of the conversion is brought to fever pitch in one of the most original depictions of the scene in the Renaissance period. Two major examples of interpretative printmaking, both executed soon after in the 1540’s, are Giorgio Ghisi’s Visitation after Francesco Salviati, and Jean Mignon’s scene from the Trojan Wars after Luca Penni. Ghisi’s powerful and meticulous engraving style gives us unforgettable figures like the woman striding in from the left in a swirl of robes, while Mignon’s lighter, sketchy technique results from his use of etching which– still in its infancy – flourished to an unprecedented degree at the School of Fontainebleau.

In the next century, probably my favourite would be Claude Gellée’s tranquil scene of a herder blowing his horn to summon his cows, considered by past commentators to be one of the finest printed landscapes ever produced. His Arcadian idyl may be compared to Kolbe’s exquisite scene in which a man plays the pan pipes to accompany an apple harvest. All these examples are in exceptionally fine impressions.

Also dear to me are unusual and lesser-known prints, such as the little Ducerceau album, still bound with its old stitching, showing artists sketching among fanciful Roman ruins. The excessively rare engraving by Monogrammist HCF poses a riddle for the 16th Century viewer, one that is clearly critical of a gluttonous and licentious clergy. Hopfer’s quirky portrait of a German professor in a droll hat and finely-drawn lambswool collar is an example from the very beginnings of etching, executed on iron, and in the scarce first edition. Nardois’ rare landscape is lent additional charm by the doodle of a male profile he has permitted himself in the lower right plate margin. Finally, what could be more quirky than Pierre Roche’s leaping Cambodian dancer, dimly suggested in pale colours and high relief by way of his original technique, the gypsograph, one stage in the long history of innovation that distinguishes printmaking.



Jan Johnson, Director

Hans Baldung GRIEN

The Conversion of St. Paul

ca. 1515-16

11 3/4 x 8 1/8 inches

Woodcut

A fine impression still with good relief, trimmed just outside the borderline all round. Rare. Only four other impressions have appeared at auction in 30 years. While Baldung had earlier represented this subject in a woodcut of 1505-07, he has moved on in ten years to a highly dramatic, spot-lit style owing much to the influence of Grunewald, overlaid on Durer’s more stable base. Pressing Saul (who would become St. Paul) and his companions and their frenzied horses into a small space near the picture plane in the lower half of the composition, he contrasts their undulating, agitated shapes and gestures with the almost tangible jolts of light and energy directed at them by Christ from on high.

Hollstein 125; Mende 42; Geisberg-Strauss 111. Watermark: Double-headed eagle

USD22,000

Giorgio GHISI

The Visitation, after Francesco Salviati

ca. 1540-50

12 5/8 x 19 ¾ inches

Engraving

Unidentified (Lugt 896); Somerville & Simpson 1970’s; Dr.Eric Stanley

A fine, three-dimensional impression, with small margins on three sides, trimmed on the platemark at left, but with a narrow plate margin all round. In nearly perfect condition. Rare. Only two other impressions have appeared at auction in thirty years. The print differs in some respects from the fresco by Salviati in the oratorio of San Giovanni Decollato in Rome, which was painted in 1538. Ghisi’s immediate source was possibly an intermediate design which could have been given to him during his trip to Rome in the 1540’s.

Lewis, Lewis and Boorsch 10, fourth state of six, with the name of Lafreri erased but before that of Rossi. Watermark: Pilgrim in circle with star

USD37,500

Albrecht DURER

St. George slaying the Dragon

ca. 1504-05

8 3/8 x 5 5/8 inches

Woodcut

A fine, even impression, rich but not over-inked, still with pronounced relief on the verso, a filet of paper outside the borderline. In this delightful woodcut Durer gives us very much a heraldic and fairy-tale St. George

Meder 225 a-b; Schoch, Mende, Scherbaum 138, with three tiny breaks in the bottom borderline but before the break in the mountains and the upper borderline.

USD24,000

Monogrammist HCF

An amorous Nun between two Clerics at a Table

ca. 1560

9 7/8 x 12 ¼ inches

Engraving

Old P & D Colnaghi stock

This very curious scene is loaded with obscure symbolism and paranormal details. It may be a critique of the want of chastity among the religious orders, three of which are here represented, but the allegory seems to go well beyond this.

Nagler Monogrammists, III, 786 as Herman Coblent; Hollstein 50 as Hans Collaert the Elder

USD9,000

BALDUNG GRIEN, Hans (1484-1545): The Conversion of St. Paul

Ferdinand BOL

St. Jerome in Penitence

1644

11 1/8 x 9 5/8 inches

Etching

W.E. Drugulin (1825-1879) (Lugt 2612)

A fine impression printed richly in the cross-hatching, exceptionally with the margin corners beyond the arch intact.

Hollstein 3, second state of three, with the date lightly scratched in and before the change in name to Rembrandt’s. Watermark: Fleur-de-lys. A fine impression, richly printed in the cave, foliage, and objects lower right.

USD7,500

Jan van de Velde II (c.1593 – after 1641): A Charlatan at a village market, from a set of four oblong market scenes

Jean MIGNON

Cassandra stopping Deiphobus from killing their brother Paris, from a set of six scenes of the Trojan War, after Luca Penni

ca. 1544-45

12 5/8 inches x 17 ½ inches

Etching

Bartsch 46; Zerner 43; Jenkins Pt II, p. 308, JM 43. Provenance: Fürst zu Fürstenberg (without mark, according to sale catalogue at Sotheby’s London, December 9, 1982); Dr. Eric Stanley (not in Lugt). A fine, early impression, trimmed between platemark and borderline. An interesting feature of this impression is that two pages of Gothic type in brown ink have offset onto the verso, suggesting the possibility of book-printing happening simultaneously in the Fontainebleau workshop.

POR

Antoine WIERIX II and Adriaen COLLAERT

The Story of Jeremiah, a set of four after Maerten de Vos

Late 16th Century

ca. 7 1/2 x 10 ¼ inches

Engraving

Mauquoy-Hendrickx 35-37, New Hollstein (Collaert) 69, first state of three. Watermark: Gothic P. Rich, crisp impressions with wide margins

Set USD5,500