19th Century Prints, American Views, Aquatint, Citiscapes, Landscapes, Prints

William J. Bennett

William James Bennett (1787-1844) was a British born painter and engraver, known for his series of birds-eye views of American cities and a series of large aquatints of Niagara Falls. Born in London, Bennett studied at the Royal Academy schools, working under Westall to develop his landscape skills. He spent his late teens and early twenties traveling with the British military, first to Egypt and Malta, followed by a later appointment in Italy. His travels expanded his landscape and portraiture skills, gifting an invaluable opportunity for the young artist to sketch both ancient ruins and modern cities and capture landscapes of all visual varieties.

In 1808, Bennett became a founding member of the Associated Artists in Water Colours, and worked out of London for a time. Bennett later moved to the United States in 1826 and was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design just two years later, in 1828. At the Academy he exhibited watercolor landscapes and seascapes as well as his engravings.

From 1830-1840, Bennett produced a series of aquatint topographical city views. Based off paintings of his own and the work of others, this series was immensely successful. In his views Bennett “not only celebrated the beauty of the American landscape, he also recorded the young nation’s growing urban centers, from Boston, Buffalo, and Detroit to New Orleans and Mobile, with a special focus on New York. Bennett recorded the bustling waterfront activity of thriving ports bathed in a luminous light that unified water, ships, and architecture. Capturing the optimism of the new nation, these magnificent aquatints have been regarded as the finest folio views of 19th-century American cities, which set the stage for an independent American school of city views.” (NYPL link). Bennett later painted four views of Niagara Falls, two which became subjects for his own aquatints, two which were translated into aquatints by fellow engraver John Hill.

Below are three prints we have by Bennett, a stunning view of Richmond, a harbor scene of Boston, and (of course) a beautiful view of the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. We hope you enjoy these prints- all three are still available to view and purchase in our Georgetown location!

City of Washington: From beyond the Navy Yard. George Cooke. Published by Lewis P. Clover, 180 Fulton St. N.Y. Aquatint engraving, 1834. Engraved by W. J. Bennett. Image size 17 5/8 x 24 5/8". LINK.  One of the great views of the Nation's Capital. Washington is shown from the south bank of the Anacostia River. On the right is the Washington Navy Yard, est. 1799, behind is the original Capitol Building and to the left is the White House. REF: Deak 485, Stokes 1837 E-64.

City of Washington: From beyond the Navy Yard. By George Cooke. Published by Lewis P. Clover, 180 Fulton St. N.Y. Aquatint engraving, handcolored, 1834. Engraved by W. J. Bennett. Image size 17 5/8 x 24 5/8″. LINK.
One of the great views of the Nation’s Capital. Washington is shown from the bucolic south bank of the Anacostia River. On the right is the Washington Navy Yard, established in 1799. Behind is the original Capitol Building with the old dome. To the left sits the White House. REF: Deak 485, Stokes 1837 E-64.

Boston, from the Ship House, West End of the Navy Yard. By William J. Bennett. Published by Henry I. Megarey, New York. Handcolored aquatint, 1833.  Image size 15 5/8 x 24 1/8".  LINK.  William Bennett was both the artist and engraver of this delightful view of Boston. One of the great views of the city, Bennett was able to capture the bustling and dynamic nature of this port city at the beginning of the 19th century.

Boston, from the Ship House, West End of the Navy Yard. By William J. Bennett. Published by Henry I. Megarey, New York. Aquatint engraving, handcolored, 1833. Image size 15 5/8 x 24 1/8″. LINK.
William Bennett was both the artist and engraver of this delightful view of Boston. An attractive and colorful view of the city, Bennett was able to capture the bustling, dynamic nature of this port city at the beginning of the 19th century.

Richmond, from the Hill above the Waterworks. By Goegre Cooke. Published by Lewis P. Clover, 180 Fulton St. N.Y. Aquatint engraving, c. 1833. Engraved by W. J. Bennett. Image size 17 3/4 x 25 3/8". LINK. One of the rarest and most beautiful of Bennett's aquatints. Gloria Deak describes the print as "George Cooke's romantic celebration of Richmond's charms. . . His composition describes the winding path of the Kanawha Canal, embracing in its arc the waters of the James River, where closely clustered buildings rising from its banks define the human community. Grazing cows lend a pastoral touch, and elegant residents, sketched at their leisure on the wooded heights, are placed by the artist in the amphitheater like setting. . . ." Shown prominently is the Virginia State Capitol building which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. To the right is the Governor's mansion. To the left is City Hall (torn down in 1870) and the State Penitentiary which was designed by Benjamin Latrobe.

Richmond, from the Hill above the Waterworks. By George Cooke. Published by Lewis P. Clover, 180 Fulton St. N.Y. Aquatint engraving, handcolored, c. 1833. Engraved by W. J. Bennett. Image size 17 3/4 x 25 3/8″. LINK.One of the rarest and most beautiful of Bennett’s aquatints. Gloria Deak describes the print as “George Cooke’s romantic celebration of Richmond’s charms. . . His composition describes the winding path of the Kanawha Canal, embracing in its arc the waters of the James River, where closely clustered buildings rising from its banks define the human community. Grazing cows lend a pastoral touch, and elegant residents, sketched at their leisure on the wooded heights, are placed by the artist in the amphitheater like setting. . . .” Shown prominently is the Virginia State Capitol building which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. To the right is the Governor’s mansion. To the left is City Hall (torn down in 1870) and the State Penitentiary which was designed by Benjamin Latrobe. REF: Deak 420; Stokes 1833 E-58.

 

 

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Citiscapes, Color etching, Drypoint, Early 20th Century, Etching, Landscapes, Multi-plate etching, Prints

Charles Mielatz

Scene of Cows and an Old Well in a Pasture. Charles Mielatz. Etching, 1911. LINK.

Scene of Cows and an Old Well in a Pasture. Charles Mielatz. Etching, 1911. LINK.

Charles Frederick William Mielatz was born in Bredding, Germany in 1864. He arrived in this country as a young boy and studied at the Chicago School of Design. Mostly self-taught, his first prints were large New England landscapes reminiscent of the painter-etcher school of American art. In 1889, he was invited by the Iconofiles Society to produce a print of Wall Street. He fell in love with the urban landscape and for the rest of his life, Mielatz created urban imagery.

Porch of the Old Customs House (Wall Street). Charles Mielatz. Etching, 1909. LINK.

Porch of the Old Customs House (Wall Street). Charles Mielatz. Etching, 1909. LINK.

Mielatz was a master technician in the field of etching, reworking many of his plates numerous times to precisely master the feeling and composition he was seeking in his images. It is not unusual for him to have many states of each print. He was also one of the early pioneers of multi-plate color etchings in this country. Although the process dates back to the eighteenth-century, for most of the nineteenth-century it was not used. It is thought that the color prints of Mary Cassatt could have influenced him.

Spingler-Van Beuren - The Covered Porch. Charles Mielatz. Color etching, 1913. LINK.

Spingler-Van Beuren – The Covered Porch. Charles Mielatz. Color etching, 1913. LINK.

The Door of St. Bartholomew's. Charles Mielatz.  Three-plate color etching, 1909. LINK.

The Door of St. Bartholomew’s. Charles Mielatz. Three-plate color etching, 1909. LINK.

Although there is no hard documentation that he influenced other artists active in New York City, his choice of etching style is remarkably similar to the drypoints that Martin Lewis produced in the late 1920’s, and his choice of subject matter is not dissimilar to that of John Sloan, who started producing etchings of NYC by 1905.

Old Spar Yard, South Street. Charles Mielatz. Etching, roulette, and sandpaper, undated. LINK.

Old Spar Yard, South Street. Charles Mielatz. Etching, roulette, and sandpaper, undated. LINK.

Charles Mielatz was a member of the New York Etching Club, the Brooklyn Society of Etchers, and was an associate member of the National Academy of Design. In 1906, he succeeded James David Smillie as the etching teacher at the National Academy, a position he held until his death on June 2, 1919.

The Jumel Mansion. Charles Mielatz. Etching, 1906. LINK.

The Jumel Mansion. Charles Mielatz. Etching, 1906. LINK.

Edgar Street (The Shortest Street in New York City). Charles Mielatz. Etching, 1910. LINK.

Edgar Street (The Shortest Street in New York City). Charles Mielatz. Etching, 1910. LINK.

Ericsson's Day No.1. Charles Mielatz. Drypoint, 1914. LINK.

Ericsson’s Day No.1. Charles Mielatz. Drypoint, 1914. LINK.

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Aquatint, Early 20th Century, Mezzotint, Monoprint, Prints

Prints by Alessandro Mastro-Valerio

Below are the nine prints we have by 20th century artist Alessandro Mastro-Valerio (1887-1953). From his earliest drypoints to his later experimentation with aquatints, Mastro-Valerio studied and explored the female form in his 22 years of printmaking. His two brief departures  from the female nude occurred in the years of 1931 to 1933, when he produced mostly landscapes, and in the last several years of his printmaking career, from 1950 to 1952, when his prints were pure abstractions, created from  continuous or single-bite aquatints.

An experienced painter, Alessandro Mastro-Valerio was introduced to printmaking  by his dear friend, Dr. Warren Pl Lombard,  in 1930. His first prints were drypoints. He began experimenting with etching and soft ground in a series of views of the Garganico area in Italy and worked briefly in this period with aquatints. During a trip to Chicago to visit the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933, he saw and was enchanted by a display of mezzotint engravings. Deciding that the medium would yield the image he had been seeking, he quickly taught himself mezzotint engraving. His first mezzotints were published in 1934. One of his earliest mezzotints, Morning, was chosen for Fine Prints of the Year in 1935. In 1948, his print Motif in Seascape won the Cannon prize from the National Academy of Design.

Nude with Breakfast Tray. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Monoprint, c.1940. $1,600.00

Nude with Breakfast Tray. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Monoprint, c.1940. 

Morning Paper. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Mezzotint, 1941. Presentation Print of the Chicago Society Of Etchers. $1,200.00

Morning Paper. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Mezzotint, 1941. Presentation Print of the Chicago Society Of Etchers. 

Longing. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Mezzotint, 1946. $1,250.00.

Longing. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Mezzotint, 1946. 

Repose. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Mezzotint, 1948. $750.00.

Repose. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Mezzotint, 1948. 

Motif in a Seascape. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Aquatint, 1949. $675.00.

Motif in a Seascape. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Aquatint, 1949. Won the Cannon Prize from the National Academy of Design. 

The Mask. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Aquatint, c.1949. $475.00.

The Mask. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Aquatint, c.1949. 

Day and Night. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Mezzotint, 1950. $525.00.

Day and Night. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Mezzotint, 1950. 

Life in Still Water. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Aquatint, c.1950. $225.00.

Life in Still Water. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Aquatint, c.1950. 

Fury. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Aquatint, c.1952.

Fury. Alessandro Mastro-Valerio. Aquatint, c.1952.

To see or purchase any of the prints shown above, please visit our website or our Georgetown gallery.

 

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