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Gerald Leslie Brockhurst

1890 - 1978

Albert H. Wiggin, Esq. (of New York) by Gerald Leslie Brockhurst

Albert H. Wiggin, Esq. (of New York)   1932

  Original etching.
Signed in pencil.
Ref: Wright 73; Fletcher 73 ii/ii
S 380 x 277 mm; P & I 248 x 188 mm
Original G.L.Brockhurst etching.

Outstanding proof impression with rich blacks and striking contrast. From the only edition of 58 signed proofs (64 in all). The plate for this etching is known to have been cancelled.

In 1941 Albert Henry Wiggin established the extraordinary reference collection of Etching Revival prints which formed the basis of the collection at the Boston Public Library and which remains the Library’s largest ever donation. The breadth of his collection was extraordinary but, in particular: “The outstanding British artists of our time were strongly, and in some cases completely, represented in the Collection by Muirhead Bone, D. Y. Cameron, James McBey, Gerald Brockhurst, and Robert Austin. Mr. Wiggin collected their work on a truly grand scale, striving to secure an impression of every plate they produced, supplementing these with all possible “trial proofs” and “states.” It has been said that the only other collection that could rival the Wiggin Collection in representation of Bone, Cameron, and McBey is that in the British Museum, // Eighty-five rare states of etchings, ten drawings, five pencil sketches, and nine wood-engravings by Frederick L. Griggs were purchased by Mr. Wiggin to augment the earlier holdings already in the Collection. They were selected from the possessions of Mr. Frank G. Kennedy of Philadelphia, and consisted of only such states as were needed to make the artist’s work complete. The set is now unique in both quality and number. Griggs’s plates, many of which show restorations of English Gothic monuments, are important historically as well as artistically.” (A.W. Heintzelman, The Tenth Anniversay of the Albert H. Wiggin Collection, Boston Public Library, 1951)

This plate was commissioned by the sitter, Albert Henry Wiggin (1868-1951); an outstanding art collector who had made his fortune in banking, rising to become Chairman of Chase National Bank. Wiggin went on to be a key advisor to the Hoover administration concerning the handling of the Great Depression. Ten years before his death he passed his extensive collection of prints, watercolours, drawings and books to the Boston Public Library and he continued to augment the collection until the end of his life; the collection includes 258 volumes bearing fine fore-edge paintings – one of the largest collections of its kind in the U.S.A.

A masterpiece of etching, this superbly worked portrait displays the remarkable stipple-like technique through which Brockhurst achieved the astonishing finish seen in his finest original prints. The dramatic lighting has further enhanced the effect of this impressive work.

On cream wove paper, with full margins. Very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.