Wednesday, 22 March 2017

I Muse... On a Piece of Art

Readers of this blog will, by now, know that the name Albert Decaris is synonymous with brilliantly engraved stamps. But what you may not know is this was merely the tip of his artist talent iceberg! 

In 1919, at only 18 years of age, he was being celebrated as an artist par excellence by taking home the coveted Prix de Rome for his etching entitled The Fall of Man. He even won a Gold Medal at the 1948 London Olympics for his incredible etching: The Swimming Pool. But that's not all. He was also an incredible painter. He painted wall frescoes for both the 1937 Paris Exhibition of Art and the New York Exhibition the year after in 1938. And in 1962 he was named official painter for the Marine Francaise (Navy).

Over time Decaris' amazing steel-plate etchings illustrated many books. Perhaps most notable were his engraved illustrations for the  three volume set of Plutarch's Lives. He engraved a colossal 58 illustrations for this set of books. He also did many large format engravings, capturing various scenes around the city in which he worked and lived - Paris. Decaris had an intimate love affair with the city of Paris through his beautiful artwork. Many of his artworks included mythological and fantastical scenes. Decaris also liked to portray religious allegories. He also produced many ink drawings utilizing these themes. 

So why all the biographical information? I thought this was a good lead-in to something unrelated to stamps that I wanted to share with you. A few weeks ago I was sent the most incredible gift by a friend in Belgium. An original piece of Albert Decaris art. How awesome is that! Wanna see...


I have tried to do some online research on this particular piece, but I wasn't able to find anything. As I mentioned above, Decaris created many artworks with religious allegories and I believe this is yet another example. In my humble opinion, I think this piece depicts Eve in the Garden of Eden standing before the Tree of Life, gazing toward heaven, perhaps seeking forgiveness. If indeed it is Eve, she seems to be standing in a pseudo-crucified position, perhaps flagellating herself for picking an apple from the tree. Of course, I could be totally wrong as to the subject. After all, if it is Eve in the Garden, where is the serpent? Or perhaps the serpent has already fled the scene, having done its job....

I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to my friend, Lionel, for this most wonderful gift! Merci beaucoup, Lionel!

Until next time...


  1. hello Matt c'est un tres bel article et grace a toi Decaris est un peu mieux connu.T'offrir cette gravure est une tres bonne idée que j'ai eu .C'est bien moi qui te remercie pour tout ce travail sur Decaris qui nous permet de decouvrir les multiples facettes de ce graveur.
    Lionel Nivelle.

  2. Merci ! J'adore le travail de Decaris !

  3. Just charming! What verve in the delicate lines and texture! What a concept!