Félix Buhot

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Félix Buhot

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Biography of Félix Buhot ( 1847-1898 )

One of the best engraver at the end of the XIXth century, Félix Buhot is born in Valognes, Normandy. He arrives in Paris in 1867, and joins the School of Fine Arts the year after. He learns paintings in the classes of Jules Noël and Lecoq. The young artist begins the engraving in the 1873s, and is quickly made a fame as engraver. He earns his living by illustrating books and musical collections.

Buhot shares his life time between Paris where he passes most of his time, and his native Normandy. He also makes some journeys in England and meets there Henrietta Johnston whose he marries with in 1881. He exposes at the Salon of the French Artists between 1875 and 1882, mainly engravings, and obtains a medal of the third class in 1880. Many of his works are published in periodics and books. The criticism recognizes unanimously his talent, and his engravings are appreciated in the United States, further to his first one-self exhibition in New York in February, 1888.
The engraver signs his works by the monogram " FB " which seems sometimes inverted, either by an owl (« Buhot » in Spanish).

Beside Edgard Degas, Camille Pissarro and Ludovic Lepic, Félix Buhot counts among the most experimented engravers of his time. He invents and develops new techniques, using the traditional techniques of engraving, dry point and aquatinte mixed with more personal methods. He varies as well inks and papers to succeed in qualifying the effects, until obtain exactly the deliberate depiction. He also uses the photography to elaborate his compositions. His most striking invention is the « marge symphonique » (symphonic margin) which reveals the subject by amplifying it (beside the central subject, the artist realizes in the margins of the additions - we also speak about "remarks" - sometimes very detailed).

Félix Buhot excels at the depiction of the rainy, snowy and hazy atmospheres, and makes numerous views of Parisian streets, The most famous one is the « Quai de l’Hôtel Dieu par une matinée d’hiver ». In 1877 he presents at the Salon a first version engraved according to his painting. It is noticed by Mr Gaucherel, one of his teacher in engraving. Working again on his subject, he makes a new version of this view. Armand Slivestre, reporting the Exhibition White and black in 1882 says that the artist knows how to translate « up to the corners of pavement in front of which the miserable thrashes of a hackney cab pant in the rain ». This work very studied and worked again during almost 25 years was prepared by two paintings at least, of which ours realized in 1876, and a clearer watercolor which had the honors at the Salon in 1878.


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