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Alphonse Legros

1837 - 1911

Portrait of Longfellow by Alphonse Legros

Portrait of Longfellow   c.1872

  Original lithograph.
Signed in pencil.
Bliss/Malassis & Thibaudeau 496
S 450 x 315 mm; I 293 x 228 mm (305 x 229 mm to edge of stone)
Excellent signed proof impression printed on toned India paper. From the only edition of 55 signed proofs.

Although Alphonse Legros is known to have produced over 700 etchings and drypoints, he produced fewer than 50 lithographs in his entire life, all of which are now rare.

Alphonse Legros’s first lithographs date from 1862, when Cadart (in an attempt to initiate the renaissance of original lithography in France) invited Edouard Manet, Fantin-Latour, Ribot, and Alphonse Legros to make a group of exhibition lithographs for him. Whilst in England, Alphonse Legros made considerable efforts as a teacher to revive original lithography in this country; however, he himself returned to the process only rarely after 1865. This superb portrait of Longfellow is one of the few examples of Alphonse Legros’ work in lithography later in his life.

The American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was one of the most popular and celebrated poets of his time. Born in 1807, he adopted a comparatively simple style and his clear, familiar themes such as The Song of Hiawatha, Paul Revere’s Ride, and The Wreck of the Hesperus were immensely popular with the public at the time. He died in 1882 and was honoured after his death by a bust sited in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey – the first American to be honoured in this way.

On fine grey-toned India paper applied to original warm white wove backing sheet. With margins, as issued. Some minor foxing towards edges of sheet, otherwise generally very good original condition.