The twelve sheets are working proofs of
Dezaunay's etching Messe en Bretagne (Mass in Brittany), which document the
process of color printmaking using multiple plates. Included are impressions with notations
by the publisher, Edmond Sagot, and by the printer, Eugène Delâtre, as well as proofs from
each color plate and proofs from the canceled plates.
The French painter and printmaker Émile (Émile-Alfred-Marie) Dezaunay was born in Nantes in
1854 into a family of wealthy merchants. His mother was a first cousin of the writer, Jules
Verne. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Jules-Élie Delaunay, a painter
from Nantes, and under Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. While in Paris, he was initiated to
printmaking by Eugène Delâtre. In 1890 he traveled to Pont-Aven with a friend, Maxime
Maufra, where they met Paul Gauguin who had a profound influence on their work. Beginning in
1892, he frequented other artists at Maufra's studio at the Bateau Lavoir in Montmartre and
later became one of the founding members of the Salon d'Automne. After 1909, he returned to
Nantes and lived there until his death in 1938.
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