BOUVENNE’S COLOR MODELS: STILL ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS…. AND SOME ANSWERS

2018-09-12T09:41:44+00:00

June 3, 2005

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the overwhelming response to the new DAUMIER REGISTER (www.daumier-register.org), the online catalogue raisonné on Daumier’s lithographic work and we are very happy that so many collectors, curators and dealers as well as scholars are making use of the search functions offered.

In this context we were approached by a number of visitors who had seen our Daumier news of April 2005 where we were dealing with questions in connection with BOUVENNE “modèles”. You may recall that H. Schrank of New York who owns one of the models from the Caricaturana Album had noticed that the colour proposals made by Bouvenne did not correspond to the final colour print version. The most apparent difference in Mr. Schrank’s “modèle” is the green background whereas the background of the final version is yellow.

This observation had raised a number of questions and prompted us to pursue the matter further. At the same time and as a consequence of the new DAUMIER REGISTER (www.daumier-register.org) the online catalogue raisonné on Daumier’s lithographic work, many collectors and dealers approached us to find out about the REAL value of Bouvenne “modèles”. As described in the article mentioned before, we were able to trace a great number of Bouvenne “modèles” and compared them to the final versions of the prints. To our great surprise, not one of Bouvenne’s colour proposals had an influence on Aubert’s print version. In addition, we were unable to find any information about the “Grande Collection” of 1839 mentioned by Bouvenne on the margins of his “modèles”.

Furthermore it seemed that it was quite impossible to find specific information about Edouard Bouvenne; was he a free-lance artist or aquarellist-craftsman or a printer in Aubert’s publishing house. It should also be noted that Edouard Bouvenne’s name cannot be found in any art registry of 19th century artists, which seem to indicate that he was not an artist of importance during this period.

We found out that all of Bouvenne’s “modèles” had been in a French private collection for a certain time before a print dealer in the U.K. started offering them to collectors and museums in Europe and the USA. The retail price depending on subject and condition of a “modèle” ranges between $1’500 and $2’500. To establish the real value of the “modèles” they might be compared to Daumier prints with handwritten annotations by the printer or the publisher. For example: the printer’s proofs, usually excellent prints on “papier mince” with the handwritten approval, date and signature of Aubert, Bauger, Junca etc. are being sold, depending on the subject and state of these cherished black and white prints, between $500 and $1000.

The Bouvenne “modèles” however are originally black and white prints from an “inferior” series (usually from the Caricaturana series), which have been coloured and annotated by a craftsman seemingly unknown as an artist.

Considering all these aspects, we feel that the value of a Bouvenne “modèle” can hardly match the value of a printer’s proof but should rather be priced like a regular coloured print “on wove paper”. Bouvenne’s mysterious handwritten remarks on the margins of these prints may give the lithograph an interesting and decorative aspect, but they hardly justify an elevated price.

We hope this information is of help to you.