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 Felix-Hilaire Buhot  (1847 - 1898)

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Lived/Active: France/England      Known for: city view and seascape paintings and etchings

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Biography from Annex Galleries:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A French etcher, painter, writer, and draughtsman, Felix Hilaire Buhot is noted for his creative use of the etching medium to achieve atmospheric images.  He attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts beginning in 1866, studying under Isidore-Alexandre Augustin Pils, Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran, and in 1868 studied under maritime painter Jules Noel.

He created his first etching in 1873.  Transferring his watercolor techniques to the plate in their delicacey and richness, Buhot used aquatint, engraving, roulette and drypoint as tools, reworking his proofs extensively to achieve the desired effect.  Buhot is also known for his use of vignettes known as remarques, in the margins of his prints. The remarques usually related peripherally to the theme of the work.

Sources: Goodfriend, "Felix Buhot", C&J Goofriend, New York, 1998
The International Fine Print Dealers Association website: http://www.ifpda.org/artist_template.cfm?id=209


Biography from Kiechel Fine Art:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in Normandy in 1847, Felix-Hilaire Buhot was orphaned and raised by his godfather.  In 1865, he moved to Paris to study literature; a year later his interest turned to art.  After study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Buhot began to design music score covers which fostered an interest in printmaking.  His earliest etchings date from 1873; the beginning of his career as an accomplished 'peintres-graveur.'

A visit to London in 1879 met him with great success, and he became known for his depictions of shadow and light.  He developed a style of 'marges symphoniques' for his etchings, filling the borders surrounding the main image with decorative elements.  His work was influenced by Japanese art and he is one of the first artists credited with embracing its importance.

Biography from National Gallery of Art, Washington DC:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Among the most original prints made in France during the last quarter of the nineteenth century are those by Félix Buhot.  Born in 1847 in the small Normandy town of Valognes, Buhot moved to Paris in 1865, where a year later he enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts, studying painting and drawing under various artists.  Buhot first learned to etch in about 1873, producing his first etching later that year and quickly establishing himself as a successful printmaker.  The young artist made his living by decorating fans and illustrating lithographic sheet music.  Buhot lived and worked most of his life in Paris, with frequent visits back to northern France and extended trips to England where he met his wife, Henrietta Johnston, whom he married in 1881. By 1892 Buhot had ceased making prints, and in 1898, after suffering prolonged bouts of deep depression, he died at the age of fifty-one.

Along with Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro, Félix Buhot numbers among the most experimental printmakers of his day. In exploring the unique aspects of etching, he developed an approach to printmaking that was very painterly; in fact, he called his prints “paintings on copper.” A true printmaker’s printmaker, Buhot delighted in all the technical variables and regularly combined multiple processes to produce a single print: he achieved even greater tonal variation by employing the more traditional techniques of etching, drypoint, and aquatint along with several less familiar methods. Unlike many contemporary printmakers who disliked photography, Buhot heartily embraced the medium and used it as a creative aid. He also used different inks and papers for varied effects. His most original contribution to the history of printmaking is an illustrative device he termed marges symphoniques (symphonic margins): by amplifying the main subject, such illustrations became an integral part of the print.

In his many prints of city views and seascapes, Buhot was intent on creating a specific atmosphere, especially the effects of weather, particularly rain, snow, mist, and fog. He turned to his immediate neighborhood in and around the boulevard de Clichy in Montmartre, Paris, for inspiration for his prints of everyday city life. Buhot delighted in portraying the varied street life of the vibrant capital city not only in different seasons (Winter in Paris, 1879) but also in moments of public display, from a festive holiday celebration (National Holiday on the Boulevard de Clichy, 1878) to a somber death observance (Funeral Procession on the Boulevard de Clichy, 1887). His city views also include London scenes (Westminster Palace and Westminster Bridge, both of 1884). And Buhot’s love for the sea is evident in the many prints exploring its ever-changing atmospheric conditions and moods. Buhot’s boat trips to England inspired two of his most characteristic prints, A Pier in England and Landing in England, both from 1879.

With his experimental printmaking techniques, Buhot became one of the best-known, admired, and collected printmakers of his day. He achieved success for his prints at the annual Salons between 1875 and 1886, and a number of his works were published in leading periodicals and books. He also found critical acclaim and support for his prints in the United States, especially after his first one-man exhibition in 1888.

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