Sunday, 20 January 2013

Alméry Lobel-Riche - Artist Printmaker

Sometimes, well quite often, I just buy what I like !! Beauty and quality just shout - BUY ME !! and this picture was one of those moments. Not cheap to buy, so there was a high degree of financial risk. This had to be a good buy - and being a large period original etching of a Russian dancer, signed, numbered and titled in pencil. It ticks all the boxes on my mental buying check list, except ??? Who was the artist -- what do you think ?

Danseuse Russe by Lobel-Riche

On close examination we can see that it is an original copper plate etching with hand painted colours in watercolour with signature, titled and edition number in pencil. In addition there is also a signature within the plate - but who is this artist ???

Easy to track - Alméry Lobel-Riche (1880-1950) a Swiss born French painter printmaker especially of portraits, medieval subjects and the female figure. His real name was Alméric Riche; he lived and studied in Paris, spending sometime studying at Beaux-arts de Montpellier and in Paris before establishing himself as a successful engraver and illustrator of books, especially those special limited edition illustrated "erotic editions" the French loved.

these are very tame !! often they are just too explicit.

Such titles include; Les Fleurs Du Mal by Charles Baudelaire (1923), Vingt Histoires Extraordinaires by Edgar Poe (1927), Salome by Oscar Wilde (1930) and Poupees de Paris by Gustave Coquiot. These titles with the etchings intact can now be worth up to £5000 each.

More to my taste are his pictures that are tame enough to hang on the wall !! some were created as folio editions whilst others as stand alone works of art and not limited to erotic subjects. Many of his earlier engravings upto c1915, remind me of Paul Cesar Helleu (1859-1927) with the belle epoque ladies in big hats.


Whilst during the inter-war years he created most of the adult material often seen for sale as single pages pulled out of books. These are still original etching, although rarely signed in pencil. They feel incomplete once taken away from the texts they were created for.

For something a little safer, his commercial art commissions included poster design, big bright and easy to understand - very graphic.


During WWII he left occupied Paris and to live in Meymac Corrèze, where his wife came from. He did return to Paris after the war to complete several more folios of etchings, including; Visions de Danse by Billy Andre (1949)

plates from "Vision de Danse" 1949

an oil painting and signed etching.

I struggled to find many other large scale pencil signed etchings, the market seems to be dominated by the erotic book plates. It looks as if I bought well and am now sure that once beautifully framed I can find a buyer for it. 

These pictures don't really fall into Icart and Milliere type "Boudoir Art" genre that I am so much a fan of and he probably should be catorgorised as a "minor boudoir artist", for no other reason than numbers, the quality is of the highest order - major - just that there are so few about.

 SEE - www.20thcenturyglamour.co.uk for current stock.