Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rodolphe Bresdin

Rodolphe Bresdin (182-1885) was a French engraver and print maker. He came from a peasant background and taught himself engraving while working as a tanner to support his family. After he began to sell his works in 1861, he moved to Paris. There he moved in literary circles, with friends like Charles Baudelaire and Victor Hugo, and he was the model for characters in a couple of novels. His nickname, Chien-Caillou, was a French mangling of the Indian name Chingachgook, a character in The Last of the Mohicans. To his bourgeois friends his rough background seemed exotic, and they made him into a prophet from the wilderness of poverty and suffering.(Above, My Dream, 1883).

Two portraits of Bresdin by his student Odilon Redon, perhaps giving some sense of the impact of his personality.

Bresdin's specialty seems to have been these mythic trees and murky forests. He does not seem to have done much work; only 150 prints survive, plus numerous drawings, most of them pretty rough.


I also like some of his renderings of villages and houses.

Bresdin illustrated works by Poe, Goethe, Baudelaire, and Gustave Flaubert. Seascape.

Clearing in the Forest, 1880

The Art Institute of Chicago has an extensive collection of Bresdin prints and drawings here.

No comments: