Hand-colored aquatint on wove paper without watermark. Image 14-3/8 x 23-1/2 in. (365 x 597 mm), plate 19-1/4 x 25-1/2 in. (488 x 647 mm), sheet 19-3/4 x 26-3/8 in. (500 x 673 mm).
Stauffer’s State II, Naeve’s first state of the completed print. Trimmed on the platemark at bottom, outside the platemark on other three sides, several marginal nicks and clean breaks not entering image and covered by mat, restored long tear lower left margin extending through text of second line of title (stopping at “15th”), otherwise in fine condition, the image deep, bright and unblemished, the engraving crisp. Framed archivally in a gilt molded frame with elaborate French mat, 28 x 34-5/8 x 2 in. overall.
Stauffer in his early catalogue (op. cit., no. 3438), followed
by the Library Company of Philadelphia 1973 exhibition catalogue (op.
cit., no. 32), classifies this state as the second state, in which
the reference to the Cary location is added in the center of the line above
the title and the publisher’s and printer’s credits are moved
below the four-line description. Nevertheless, no copy of the first state
has been located, and the Library Company exhibited only a copy of Stauffer’s
second state, loaned by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Naeve’s
1987 catalogue raisonné (op. cit., no. 105) cites the Historical
Society example as a first state and makes no reference to Stauffer’s
earlier state. The privately-owned finished watercolor made for the engraving,
one of the celebrated images of the young nation and once on deposit in
the Philadelphia Museum of Art (see Dickson, op. cit., p. 73),
realized $266,500 at Christie’s in 1999.
Krimmel’s design, a “procession akin to medieval pageantry” (Munsing), features an astonishing marching of people, and horses, and even architecture, altogether unprecedented in earlier American art and fully justifying “his honorific title as the first American genre painter” (Harding). It was his last completed work before his accidental death at age 33 while preparing his intended masterpiece (The Landing of William Penn at Newcastle, to be a counterpart to Benjamin West’s William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians). Of the print, Snyder writes in Mirror of America (op. cit., pp. 81-2.), "…[T]he most popular of local views in aquatint was the light-hearted genre scene, the 'Procession of the Victuallers.' This is almost the only such local print of its time. Set in an atmosphere of happy holiday cheer, there is in it as well the appeal of dozens of figures drawn by Krimmel, whose simple charm in the flat planar medium is redolent of days long gone. The 'Procession of Victuallers,' drawn by Krimmel in the year of his death, 1821, was aquatinted by Joseph Yeager in his only engraving in that mode which has been found. This is in lavish size and in the crowded atmosphere typical of Krimmel. …The Philadelphia Gazette of March 16, the day after the event, reported that 'What added considerably to the novelty and beauty of the scene, was the ascension of several handsome balloons during the line of march.' It has been said that the spectacle was witnessed by 300,000; the population of the city in 1820 was 137,000."
Provenance: Martin P. Snyder; Jay T. Snider
Snyder, Martin P., Mirror of America, The Developing Life of Philadelphia Seen in Engravings 1801-1876 (Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, 1996), no. 665 at p. 210, and pp. 81-2, plate facing p. 81, and front and rear cover illustration (this example).
Christie’s, sale 9254 (New York, Rockefeller Plaza), November 30, 1999, lot 26 (the watercolor).
Dickson, Harold E., Arts of the Young Republic; the Age of William Dunlap (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968), pl. 174 and p. 73.
Harding, Anneliese, John Lewis Krimmel, Genre Artist of the Early Republic (Winterthur: Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1994), pp. 213-8.
Harding, Anneliese, “British and Scottish Models for the American Genre Paintings of John Lewis Krimmel,” Winterthur Portfolio, v. 38 (Winterthur: Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum, 2003), pp. 221-43.
Library Company of America (ed. Stephanie A. Munsing, Curator of Prints), Made in America, Printmaking, 1760-1860 (Philadelphia, 1973), no. 33, pp. 25-6.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Paintings & Historical Prints from the Middendorf Collection (New York, 1967), no. 115, p. 54.
Naeve, Milo M., John Lewis Krimmel: an Artist in Federal America (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1978), no. 105 and pp. 113-8.
Stauffer, David McNeely, American Engravers upon Copper and Steel (New York: The Grolier Club, 1907), part II, no. 3438, p. 566.
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