This period has brought 12 Monegasque stamps to Albuisson's burin; they range from "normal commemoratives" to arts and music.
Claude Monet (1840-1926) is well known as the leader of the Impressionist movement that began by the end of the 19th century in Paris. The below painting "La Pie" [The Magpie] was issued by Monaco for the 150th anniversary of his birth. Click here to see a large version of the painting. The link will open in a new window. You will recognize the magpie on the left at the top of the footbridge across the water.
(François) Auguste René Rodin (1840-1917) was a French sculptor, who imbued his work with great psychological force, which was expressed largely through texture and modeling. He is regarded as the foremost sculptor of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
These two stamps were issued for the Monegasque Red Cross, and depict the life of Sainte Dévote, the patron saint of Monaco. Design by Pierrette Lambert, and engravings by Pierre Albuisson.
Edvard (Hagerup) Grieg (1843-1907) was the most distinguished Norwegian composer of the 19th century. Born in Bergen on June 15, 1843, he was taught the piano by his mother, a professional pianist, and studied at the Leipzig Conservatory. Grieg was encouraged to write music by the Danish composer Niels Gade, and lived for a period in Copenhagen; his interest in Norwegian folk music was awakened by the Norwegian composer Rikard Nordraak. From 1866 to 1876 Grieg lived in Christiania (now Oslo), where he taught music and became conductor of the Philharmonic Society. In 1867 he married his cousin, Nina Hagerup, a distinguished soprano.
With this engraving Albuisson has created a wonderful and lively portrait of Grieg. The notes on the stamp refer to "Solveig's Song" from "Peer Gynt" (suite No. 2, op.23, no.19, a poetic drama set in Norway, Morocco, and Egypt in the 19th century, written by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Here are the lyrics to this famous piece of music, performed by the renowned British singer Sarah Brightman.
Georges de La Tour (1593-1652) was a French painter of religious and genre subjects, best known for his night scenes of dark interiors illuminated by candlelight. He was born in Vic, a small town in the duchy of Lorraine. The evidence of his work suggests that he was influenced by the Italian master Caravaggio, known for his dramatic lighting effects, and by the Dutch masters Hendrick Terbrugghen and Gerrit van Honthorst, leaders of the tenebroso (shadowy) style. La Tour's night scenes are often lit by a single emphatic light source, such as a torch or candle.
He was particularly effective in exploiting the resulting strong contrasts of light and shadow for expressive effect, as in St. Sebastian Tended by St. Irene (1649?, Staatliche Museen, Berlin), where the striking colors of the picture are vividly dramatized by the strong light of a large candle. The same effect is clearly seen in the below painting (left), issued by Monaco in 1993, a painting in which the religious subject matter is combined with the dramatically lit scenery.
All three stamps in this row were designed and engraved by Albuisson
Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was a French actor, who was the best-known stage figure of her time.
She was born Rosine Bernhard in Paris on October 22/23, 1844, the daughter of a courtesan. She was educated in a convent and at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1862 she made her debut at the Comédie Française but attracted so little notice that she soon left the company. She was highly acclaimed for playing the title roles in a French version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1899) and in L’Aiglon (1901), a play about Napoleon’s son, written for her by Edmond
Rostand. Famous for her slim beauty and bell-like voice, she was called the divine Sarah.
To complete this period, the stamp above right by Henri Rousseau is designed by Pierre Albuisson, but NOT engraved. It is printed in offset. (There exists a long listing of such stamps, prepared for offset printing, by Albuisson).
Henri Julien Félix Rousseau called Le Douanier (1844-1910), was a self-taught French artist, whose bold colors, flat designs, and imaginative subject matter were praised and imitated by modern European painters. Born in Laval, Rousseau enlisted in the army at the age of 18 and claimed to have served briefly in Mexico. After his discharge, he obtained a position with the Paris toll, which explains his sobriquet Le Douanier (The Customs Official).
On his retirement in 1885 he devoted himself to painting. Although he lacked formal training, Rousseau soon showed great skill in composition and color. Beginning in 1886 he exhibited his work at the Salon des Indépendants, winning the admiration of such contemporaries as Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Pablo Picasso. After painting mainly portraits and Parisian scenes, he turned during the 1890s to highly original depictions of fantasy. These mature pictures typically depict tropical scenes with human figures at rest or play, and with beasts mysteriously charmed to an alert stillness, like in this painting of "The Snake Charmer". Rousseau's work, admired for its color, composition, and directness, inspired a revival of naive art.
Sources and links:
Microsoft Encarta 2002.
Timbres Magazine 2004.
The engraver's personal notes and comments.
|Published June 2005. Revised 08-feb-2007.
Copyright © Ann Mette Heindorff & Pierre Albuisson
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