Original scarce to rare etching of the year 1910, "The Avenue, Valenciennes", signed at lower right margin in pencil by the important American etcher, illustrator, critic, author and teacher JOSEPH PENNELL (1857-1926). The print measures 10" by 13" inside the mat (12 1/2" by 15 1/2" in the framing). After the signature, the "imp." indicates that Pennell would have printed this himself. The artist needs little introduction, as he was one of America's most prolific graphic artists, having produced many, many etchings and lithographs, not to mention watercolors, oils and drawings. Born in Pennsylvania, he was studying in Europe by the 1880's, where he was influenced by and was a friend of Whistler. Pennell was made a National Academician in 1909. Today his etchings and drawings of New York can bring thousands of dollars at auction. This scene is of a small industrial town in northern France, not far from Lille and the border with Belgium. The fine detail includes a nanny or mother with young child at left, smokestacks in the distance, trolley tracks, and insulators on the phone poles. The elegant, classically continental avenue of trees (poplars?) draws the eye to the vanishing point. Not examined out of frame but appears to be very clean and fresh. Apparently this particular image is not included in the Wuerth catalog raisonne of the artist's graphic works, but it is included in a number of museum collections.
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