Fernand Chalandre (1879 - 1924)
Wood engraver and etcher Fernand Chalandre was born in Nevers, France. Childhood polio is said to have cost him the use of his legs and left him wheelchair bound ever after, though other accounts attribute his disability to an accident. He was regularly seen traveling the streets of Nevers in his wheelchair, making sketches of the streets and landmarks of his native haunts.
He studied printmaking at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nevers and was a regular exhibitor for many years at the Salon des Artistes Français. His prints are characterized by their careful, sensitive depiction of both people and places. His health declined rapidly beginning in 1923, and he died the next year. The municipal museum at Nevers houses the principal collection of his work. Evidently, Chalandre's editions were very small and are consequently very scarce in the market.
Nevers - Place Carnot
Etching on cream wove paper, early 20th Century. Edition unknown, but probably fewer than 50 proofs.. Image size 3-7/8” x 6-1/16”; sheet size 9-13/16” x 11-7/8”. Titled and signed in pencil by Chalandre in the lower margin.
Place Carnot abuts the former Ducal palace, one of its two towers is shown in this etching. Before its extensive renovation beginning in the 1890s, Place Carnot was an open air market, ultimately covered and enlarged in 1895 on what had been the site of the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Didier and its cemetery. It was named in honor of Marie François Sadi Carnot, President of France, who was assassinated in 1894. A richly inked print in overall fine condition.
Nevers - Escalier de la Rue des Jacobins
Etching, 1909; edition not stated, but probably fewer than 50 proofs. Image size 9¼” x 15¼”; sheet size 11-3/16: x 17½”. Signed in pencil by the artist in the lower margin. Annotated “Salon de la Nationale 1909”. A beautiful, complex work with masterful play of light and dark in overall fine condition with minor, unobtrusive creasing at the lower edge of the sheet, well away from the sight area.
Nevers - Rue Casse-Cou
Etching on cream wove paper, ca. 1912. Edition unknown, but likely to be fewer than 50 proofs. Image size 3¼” x 5-5/8”; sheet size 9-15/16” x 12-5/8”. Titled and signed in pencil in the lower margin.
More an alley than a street, Rue Casse-Cou is distinctive for its long and steep flight of challenging stone steps, which explains its name, which translates to “Dare-Devil”. This rich and whimsical image employs Chalandre’s adept contrapuntal use of light and shadow. Fine.
Nevers - Rue des Récollets
Etching, ca. 1912; edition size unknown, but probably 50 or less. Image size 3¼” x 5¾”; sheet size 9¾” x 11”. Rue des Recollets, which leads uphill to the ancient Castle of Nevers, was originally named Vicus de Castro in 1323; its name was changed on several occasions before the current name was established in 1600. In the year VIII, following the French Revolution, the name was changed to Rue des ci-devant Récollets, or roughly, “the street formerly known as Rue des Récollets”. A fine impression with very faint toning in what was likely the mat aperture, and minor scuffs along the side edges of the sheet.
Porte de Croux, Nevers
Etching, ca. 1912; edition unknown, but likely fewer than 50 proofs. Image size 3-5/16” x 4-7/8”; sheet size 9-13/16” x 11¾”. Constructed at the end of the fourteenth century, this iconic fortification consisted of tower and battlements and a drawbridge that carried traffic across the Passière, which was subsequently routed through an underground culvert. In 1847, the Baron Vertpré recognizing the historic significance of the structure, bought it to prevent its destruction and sold it to Nevers 1851. The city restored the complex and created a historical museum on three levels of the tower. Today, it is operated by the Nivernese Society of Ats and Sciences.
Titled in the plate; signed in pencil in the lower margin. Fine overall condition.
Rue des Ouches
Etching, ca. 1912; edition size unknown, but probably less than 50. Image size 3-1/8” x 6-13/16”; sheet size 9-7/8” x 11¾”. A narrow and crooked alley last widened in 1903, the Rue des Oulches - or Ouches - was given its present name in 1571. Its footprint marks the line of an old ditch at the base of the original ramparts of Nevers. It includes remains of the original city walls as well as portions of the structure of the Ducal castle and its outbuildings. A beautiful etching that captures the ancient character of this venerable place, in fine condition, titled and signed by Chalandre in the lower margin.
Rue St. Etienne
Etching, ca. 1912. Edition not known, but probably fewer than 50 proofs. Image size 3-3/8” x 4-15/16”; sheet size 9-7/8” x 12-5/8”. Titled and signed by Chalandre in pencil in the lower margin
Looming above the Rue St. Etienne streetscape is the eastern view of the tower of the Church of Saint-Etienne. Its construction spanned the eleventh and twelfth centuries and it is a remarkable, if somewhat disfigured, survivor of classic Romanesque architecture. The print is richly inked and in fine overall condition.
Etching, ca. 1912. Edition unknown, though likely fewer than twenty proofs. Image size 3¼” x 4-7/8”; sheet size 9¾” x 12-5/8”. Signed in pencil by Chalandre in the lower margin and also in lower right-hand corner of he plate. A haunting moonlit scene of Nevers lying beyond the Loire, with a tree-lined embankment separating the river from the road. Fine.