MAXIME LALANNE (French / 1827-1886)

The etcher François Antoine Maxime Lalanne was born in Bordeaux, and died in Nogent-sur-Marne. A pupil of Jean-François Gigoux, he exhibited at the Salon de Paris from 1852-1886, chiefly etchings and charcoal drawings. His first prints in the 1850s were lithographs, but by 1862 he had switched to the newly-popular technique of etching. Maxime Lalanne was one of the earliest etchers of the French etching boom, and was commissioned by that movement's ringmaster, the publisher Alfred Cadart, to write a highly influential guide to the art of etching, Traité de la gravure à l'eau-forte, in 1866. Lalanne was one of the founding members of Cadart's Société des Aquafortistes in 1862, and the bulk of his etchings were published by Cadart or his successors. Maxime Lalanne was devoted to etching and drawing, and died with a stick of charcoal in his hand, despite suffering from the crippling bone disease osteomalacia. In his lifetime Maxime Lalanne was admired, even revered, for his mastery of etching. Philip G. Hamerton wrote simply, "No one ever etched so gracefully as Maxime Lalanne." Joseph Pennell wrote that, "His ability to express a great building, a vast town, or a delicate little landscape has never been equalled, I think, by anybody but Whistler." Despite all this praise, Lalanne's star faded with the arrival of Impressionism, besides which his meticulously detailed etchings began to seem fussy and overworked. The extent to which Lalanne's organization of his compositions results in a sense of harmony and balance that reflects the artist's individual vision, rather than simply recording what he saw, has only recently been recognized. After a long period of neglect, the gently perceptive and unfailingly harmonious art of Maxime Lalanne is once again appreciated. He did not as a rule sign his etchings, except for the odd bon à tirer or presentation print. The extremely complex publishing history of each of his etchings (around 200 in all) has been expertly charted by Jeffrey M. Villet in The Complete Prints of Maxime Lalanne: catalogue raisonné, lithographs and etchings (3rd ed. expanded, Washington 2010).

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Selected prints by MAXIME LALANNE

Boulevard Montmartre, 1884
Vue prise du Louvre, 1882
Une rue de Rouen, 1884

View all available prints by MAXIME LALANNE