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Henri-Charles Gu?rard, 1846-1897

Three Decorative Borders in the Japanese Manner

Description:Read An Essay On This Drawing

The three panels are framed with metallic borders decorated with whimsical, Japanese-inspired motifs. The upper panel shows two pug puppies, one upright on its haunches sporting a paper hat topped by a plume, and the other squatting, licking itself. In the lower-left panel, a sketchily executed bird perches on a twig, and, at his right, a full red moon glows against the gold border. The decorative motifs in the lower-right panel include a dried fish, a frequent subject for carved ivory netsukes,1 and a man with a stick over his shoulder from which is suspended a pair of rabbits, a substitute for the wrapped bundle normally appearing in Japanese images. The goose under the man's arm is also atypical of Japanese art. These designs may have been intended for menus, a category of this artist's production that the print and book collector Henri Beraldi catalogued as "Franco-Japanese eccentricities."2

A multifaceted artist, Henri-Charles Guérard produced prints after paintings, views of modern life, images of art objects, and a vast range of imaginative compositions. Alluding to his inventive powers and to the boundless scope of his interests, Beraldi characterized him as a "modernist, impressionist, Manetist, landscape and marine painter, japonist, fantasist, alchemist, essayist, as possessing an imagination that never rests, and as having in his head an imagination that explodes in a thousand capricious directions: cards, menus, fans, almanacs, marine sketches, impressions of Paris, that is to say subjects rapidly glimpsed and more rapidly rendered."3

Guérard abandoned the study of architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to become an engraver. He also painted in oils, listing himself for his first Salon entry in 1870 as a pupil of the minor genre painter and engraver Nicolas Berthon (1831 - 1888). Guérard usually exhibited his etchings, engravings, and other graphics at the salons of the Société des artistes français. Following the death of Jules-Ferdinand Jacquemart in 1880, he emerged as the foremost delineator of fine and decorative arts, many of his illustrations appearing in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, the leading French art journal.

Together with Félix Regamey and Félix Buhot, Guérard was a leading member of the second generation of the exponents of Japonisme. This movement emerged in Western Europe in the mid-1860s and was exemplified by such works as James Abbott McNeill Whistler's Purple and Rose: The Lange Lijzen of the Six Marks(1864),4 Edouard Manet's Portrait of Zola (1868),5 and by the designs of Félix Bracquemond (as early as 1867).6 Marie-Caroline Sainsaulieu identifies Guérard's first contribution to Japonisme as a Japanese mask that appeared in a collection of etchings entitled Paris à l'eau-forte (1875).7 His most important contribution to the movement may be the illustrations and vignettes that appeared in Louis Gonse's monumental study L'Art japonais (1884).

Guérard is also remembered as the husband of Manet's pupil Eva Gonzales. The year before their marriage (1879), he posed with the actress Ellen Andrée in Manet's Au Café, a scene set in La Brasserie de Reichshoffen.8 William R. Johnston

1. See, for example, a lacquer netsuke in the form of a dried fish in the Walters Art Museum (WAM 61.205).

2. H. Beraldi, Les graveurs du xixe siècle (Paris 1885-92; reprint 1981), 7:268, lists under no. 18-188 Cartes, invitations, menus, ex-libris, etc. 61-104, forty-five menus: Franco-Japanese eccentricities.

3. "Un moderniste, impressionist, manétiste, paysagiste, mariniste, japoniste, fantaisiste, alchimiste, essayiste, l'imagination sans cesse en travail, ayant dans la tête un bouquet de feu d'artifice qui éclate en mille caprices: cartes, menus, adresses, almanachs, croquis des bords de la mer, impressions sur Paris, c'est-à-dire sujets rapidement entrevus et plus rapidement rendus." Beraldi 1981, 7:263.

4. James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Purple and Rose: The Lange Lijzen of the Six Marks, 1864, The John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.

5. Edouard Manet, Portrait of Zola, 1868, Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

6. See Bracquemond's designs for the faience service commissioned by Eugène Rousseau, 1867.

7. Henri Guérard(1846-1897), Galerie Antoine Laurentin (Paris, 1999), 7.

8. Edouard Manet, Au Café, 1878, Winterthur, Collection Oscar Reinhart.

Medium: Pen and black ink, brush and wash, gouache and metallic paint over graphite on cream, medium-weight, smooth illustration board
Dimensions: Sheet sizes. With dogs: 156 x 124 mm.; with bird: 162 x 123 mm.; with fish: 159 x 125 mm.
Date: ca. 1880
Category: illustration
Subject: Bird
Inscriptions and Markings: RECTO: [Dog] LowerC, (stamp), monogram, 'HCG' [Lugt 1157]; [bird] LL, (stamp), monogram, 'HCG' [Lugt 1157]; [fish] BLC, (stamp), monogram, 'HCG' [Lugt 1157].
Exhibition History: The Baltimore Museum of Art, 'Watercolors and Drawings from the George A. Lucas Collection', July 24-Oct. 14, 1990.
Provenance: BMA by purchase, 1996; The Maryland Institute, College of Art, 1911; Henry Walters (1848-1931), Baltimore, 1909; George A. Lucas (1824-1909), Paris.
Collection: The Baltimore Museum of Art
Credit Line: The Baltimore Museum of Art: The George A. Lucas Collection, purchased with funds from the State of Maryland, Laurence and Stella Bendann Fund, and contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations throughout the Baltimore community
Object Number: BMA 1996.48.13457