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The Bird Tree by Albert Flamen (1620-1674)
The Bird Tree by Albert Flamen (1620-1674) - Paintings & Drawings Style The Bird Tree by Albert Flamen (1620-1674) - The Bird Tree by Albert Flamen (1620-1674) -
Ref : 112634
Period :
17th century
Artist :
Albert Flamen (1620-1674)
Provenance :
Medium :
Pen and brown ink
Dimensions :
l. 10.51 inch X H. 8.15 inch
Paintings & Drawings  - The Bird Tree by Albert Flamen (1620-1674) 17th century - The Bird Tree by Albert Flamen (1620-1674)  - The Bird Tree by Albert Flamen (1620-1674)
Stéphane Renard Fine Art

Old master paintings and drawings

+33 (0) 61 46 31 534
The Bird Tree by Albert Flamen (1620-1674)

Dimensions : 4 3/8” x 6 ¾” (11 x 17 cm) - Framed 8 1/8” x 10 ½” (20.7 x 26.7 cm)

Albert Flamen was a Flemish artist living in Paris, best known for his engraving work. In this drawing executed on the edge of fantasy, we find the technique of an engraver who knows how to modulate his pen to evoke a humble thatched cottage or a sailing boat in the background. Above all, this drawing fascinates us with its protean representation of an old tree, standing up to the sky like a fantastic creature. By a strange coincidence, this dreamlike representation also evokes one of Caspar David Friedrich's best-known paintings, The Tree of Crows (last photo of the gallery)...

1. Albert Flamen, a Flemish engraver and draughtsman living in Paris

Although he was probably born in Flanders , Albert Flamen is documented in Paris, where he lived for the rest of his life, from 1634 onwards. Biographical details about him are scarce, and the little information we do have suggests that he was active as an artist in the second third of the 17th century, residing between 1636 and 1650 in the parish of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. Faithful to the Flemish tradition, he was a draughtsman and engraver who favored the depiction of landscapes, birds and fishes in meticulously executed small-format artworks.

While Flamen's engraved corpus is very large (625 known pieces), thanks in particular to his work as illustrator of emblem books (which represent 40% of his engraved works), his drawings are quite rare on the market. One of the most astonishing books he illustrated was the Eucharistic Orpheus by the Reverend Father Augustin Chesneau. In a whimsical, baroque style, the most unexpected images, depicting often animals, become Eucharistic emblems, according to complex, learned explanations! The two engravings reproduced in the gallery, "the Adulterous Stork, who uses the water of a fountain to hide his infamous trade" and "the Indian Apode, who lays her eggs, incubates them and hatches them on her male's back", give us an idea of the extent of his imagination...

2. A dreamlike landscape at the edge of fantasy

The present drawing, finely executed in pen with modulated backgrounds, is fairly typical of some of the artist's production, as can be seen in this Landscape from the British Museum collections.
Our drawing, however, is particularly appealing for its dreamlike quality, at the edge of fantasy. The space of the sheet is dominated by the tentacular representation of an immense tree with numerous branches, its mass towering over a fisherman sitting peacefully by the water (fourth photo in the gallery).

With a little imagination, this tree could even evoke a kind of menacing dragon whose body would be made up of the tree's belly-shaped trunk, its legs of the roots, its tail of the lower branch, and its wings of the two branches located halfway up the trunk!

Finally, although it is almost certain that Caspar David Friedrich never saw our drawing, it is also interesting to compare it with one of Friedrich's most famous compositions, The Tree of Crows (last photo of the gallery), painted in 1822 and now in the Louvre.

3. Provenance and framing

Our drawing belonged to two well-known drawing collectors. The first one, Paul Frantz Marcou (whose mark, a large M, with a small P on the left and an F on the right, both ornamented, appears on the lower right of our drawing) was a General Inspector of Historic Monuments born in Paris in 1860. He built up his own collection, which he began at a very young age, around 1880, buying drawings purely for his own pleasure and without any particular predilection in terms of period or epoch, even though this collection mainly comprised works by the Italian school of the 17th and 18th centuries.

This drawing subsequently passed from the personal collection of dealer and expert Paul Touzet (1898 - 1981). Between the wars, he opened his first gallery on rue de l'Université in Paris. He then moved to rue des Beaux-Arts, where he was exhibiting mainly Dutch and Flemish paintings. In the 1960s, his main activity became expertise during public auctions, and he remained one of the most renowned experts in Paris until his death in 1981.

It is probably to him that we owe the beautiful frame in which we present this drawing: a 19th-century Dutch-style frame in blackened wood and tortoiseshell on a gold spangle.

Delevery information :

The prices indicated are the prices for purchases at the gallery.

Depending on the price of the object, its size and the location of the buyer we are able to offer the best transport solution which will be invoiced separately and carried out under the buyer's responsibility.

Stéphane Renard Fine Art


Drawing & Watercolor