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Emile Antoine Verpilleux

1888 – 1964

The Last Furrow by Emile Antoine Verpilleux

The Last Furrow   1924

  Original woodcut, printed in colours and highlighted by hand.
Signed in pencil.
S 383 x 509 mm; I 360 x 460 mm
Superb signed proof impression with brilliant, exceptionally fresh colour. Printed in orange, blue, green and black inks from multiple blocks, and with the final pale highlights of blue in the sky added by hand. A particularly fine, strong example from the only edition.

Emile A. Verpilleux was the first artist to have a colour print hung at the Royal Academy in London, and he is now widely considered to have been one of the finest colour woodcut printmakers working in Britain in the first half of the 20th century. Born Notting Hill, London, of a French father (also called Emile Antoine Verpilleux), and a Scottish mother (Edith Verpilleux, née Beard), E.A.Verpilleux junior was educated in France and at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Antwerp. He began printmaking as a wood engraver, but soon became interested in making colour woodcuts. Emile Verpilleux developed his own highly original techniques for producing a subtle gradation of colour across the various blocks used in printing his comparatively large-scale works. In particular, he adopted the style through which the principal subject of his image was shown effectively in silhouette, backlit by striking colours which would diffuse gradually across the background of the image.

The Last Furrow is one of the most striking of Emile Verpilleux’s works in his characteristic silhouetted manner. The magnificent aura of colour throughout the sky behind the figures of the plough horses and their driver has created a dramatic atmospheric effect which elevates this humble subject to a grand romantic spectacle.

On warm white wove paper with margins, as issued. Very fine condition.