GUILLEMIN, Alexandre (1817-1880) (artist) & JACOT (lithographer)
Le Marchand d'Images [The Printseller]
Paris: Lemercier, ca. 1845. Lithograph by Jacot after a painting by Guillemin. Printed on wove paper with thick wove backing for support. Very good condition apart from some light soiling, mild rippling and a few minor foxing marks in the margins. Image size (including text): 18 1/8 x 13 3/8 inches. Sheet size: 19 x 14 1/4 inches.
This charming print represents a print seller attempting to sell his wares to a middle-class couple in a domestic interior. Most likely having spotted the only print in the sparsely furnished room, a faded religious subject hung over the armoire, the vendor selects a small image of the Madonna and Child from his portfolio, which he thinks might interest his potential clients.
During the nineteenth century, prints were extremely popular among members of the middle-class. They were an inexpensive and consequently affordable way for people to own reproductions of works of art. Lithographs, which were invented in the late eighteenth-century, were particularly popular. Produced through a relatively easy process, they were the ideal medium through which images could be widely disseminated. Lemercier was one of the most prominent printers and publishers of lithographs in nineteenth-century Paris.