Skilled French Craftsmen
Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF)

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At two occasions, in 1979 and 1986, Pierre Albuisson has been awarded the prestigious French medal "Skilled French Craftsmen" in the category "Copper and Steel Engravings". 

On this page are shown the works he entered for the competition. In the public French opinion this decoration is considered the Number-One.  

Medal of "Meilleurs Ouvriers de France".

Pierre Albuisson: "Lady with Ermine", copper-plate engraving after Leonardo Da Vinci.

For his first medal in 1979, Albuisson has made this lovely engraving on a copper plate "The Lady with the Ermine" after a painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci. The engraving is done with burin in the format 12,3 * 16,7 cm. 

A lovely work that renders fully the soft beauty of the original work by da Vinci, originally painted c. 1483-1485. Polish National Museum in Krakow. 

I have chosen to show the work small size, in order to give an impression of the size of the final work. Click here for a close-up of the engraving. The link will open in a new window. 

Read more about Leonardo da Vinci, and see a selection of his works reproduced on stamps. 

The below presentation of Cardinal de Richelieu shows two different engravings by Pierre Albuisson, entered for the competition 1986, engraved in steel and copper-plate, respectively. The difference between the two engravings is visible with the naked eye. Both scans are by Pierre Albuisson, and have not been edited in a graphic editor. The one on the left (steel engraving) appears much "sharper" than the copper engraving on the right. 

Pierre Albuisson: Steel engraving of Cardinal de Richelieu, after a painting by Philippe de Champaigne. Pierre Albuisson: Copper-plate engraving of Cardinal de Richelieu, after a painting by Pihilippe de Champaigne.
  • Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu, after a painting by Philippe de Champaigne.(1602-1674), born in Brussels (Belgium). The two engravings vary considerably in size, the steel engraving being the smallest. 

    • (Left) Steel engraving with burin, format 2,5 * 4 cm.

    • (Right) Copper engraving with burin, format 10,4 * 16,4 cm. 

To conclude this page, I would like to quote the words by M. Serge Vinçon, taken from the work "Savoir faire du bijou, oeuvres des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France." The French text is shown on the right, scanned from the mentioned book. 

Work is Life
The term "(art) work" goes well with the term "craftsman", leading to "the best". The art will eventually pass from being an everyday work to the domain of the immense, also known as creativity. 

Whether you are chaser, sculptor, engraver, goldsmith, jeweler, or stone-setter, you are artists, you are those who know how to combine patience with learning, and partner's audacity with master's obligations. 

The master never knows, he always learns, always in touch with his pupils as well as the search for beauty and purity. The imagination needs hands to transform an idea, the idea that is enlightened by the spirit and the rays of light. 

How much time does it take to make a work which one would consider The Best of Skilled French Workers?  

Serge Vinçon: Extract of book "Savoir faire du bijou. Oeuvres des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France".

Although this question burns our lips, it makes no sense to ask, because patience determines the time needed, as well as precision of movements determines the revelation of a shape. The talent does the rest, knowing that it is as much the child of the hand as of the intelligence. I cannot imagine that the approach to beauty is not guided by a strong spirituality. 

The high rise of an art work towards perfection merits a recognition on the chest of Cité de l'Or, whose goal it is to marry the sun with the night, the moon with the day, much the same way the flame of the blowtorch encircles the metal. To make this possible, by the alchemy of will and the fusion of competence, is the achievement of the Skilled Workers of France, an achievement to imitate for immortalizing their genius for centuries to come.  Signed Serge VINÇON. 

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Published June 2005. Revised 08-feb-2007
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