La Morgue (The Mortuary, Paris). 1865. Etching. Delteil-Wright vi/vii; Schneiderman 42.vi/vii. 6 5/8 x 5 3/4 (sheet 17 7/8 x 142 3/16). The inscriptions of state iv removed and new inscriptions added in block letters: 'LA MORGUE./1850./A DELATRE IMP R St JACQUES 265' lower center; and 'SABRA./DENTISTE/DU/PEUPLE.' on the house to the right; and 'HOTEL DES TROIS BALANCES MUEBLE.' on one to the left; and the monogram, upper left. Series: Eaux-Fortes sur Paris. A rich impression printed on 'HUDELIST' laid paper. Provanance: C.W. Dowdeswell (Lugt 690). $5,000.
The Morgue is considered to be Meryon's magnum opus, and a 19th Century printmaking icon. Meryon's etched Paris architectural landmarksthat were likely to be demolished or moved. The morgue, formerly an abbatoir (slaughterhouse), built in 1568, was located in the Île de la Cité, the epicenter of Paris. Subsequently the building was moved. The composition has a contrasts the emotions of the impersonal crowd with the pathos of the mourners. Life and death are mirrored in the light and shadow.
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