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Engravings / etchings  

Around 1930, encouraged by his friend Adrien Hébert and by the fact that Hébert owns a press, Fortin devotes himself to engraving on copper and zinc plates. Never having studied engraving as a technique, he restricts himself to etching and etching needle.

«You know, engraving is practically seven crafts in one : preparing the plate, applying the cement, engraving, drawing with a sharp point, removing the cement, inking… inking is a whole skill in itself, and then using the press is also an entirely different craft. The inking alone is really two crafts in one» Marc-Aurèle Fortin

«I used the drawings from my watercolours and my oils to find inspiration for my engraving. I must have done about sixty of these.» Marc-Aurèle Fortin

 

pont d'Europe
c.1949
21 cm x 26 cm

«I also made engravings using a black mirror. To use it, the landscape must be behind you. You place the mirror in front of you, then you work from nature.

You make your print from what you see in the mirror. It gives you a perfect line, it’s marvellous. Why a black mirror? Well, a regular mirror does not reflect the values, the lines. A black mirror only gives you the line of the engraving. Charles Méryon, a French etcher, produced masterpieces in this way. I did many works like that, landscapes of Hochelaga and elsewhere.» Marc-Aurèle Fortin

Of the sixty or more engravings that Fortin produced, the Museum has been able to recuperate only nineteen. We do not know what happened to the other plates. All we do know is that one afternoon in 1940, Marc-Aurèle, distracted, lost about a dozen plates in a cinema never to be seen again. As for the others, it seems they have disappeared and there is no knowledge of when this occurred or under what circumstances.

In 1977, Fortin’s estate commissioned the draw of nineteen printing plates created by the artist. This painstaking work was entrusted to Mrs Janine Leroux-Guillaume, renowned engraver who gave three years to complete the work.

Each etching is signed by Janine Leroux-Guillaume and bears the stamp of the Foundation Marc-Aurèle Fortin in the lower right and, at the back, the signature of the Foundation’s President.

The limited edition of these etchings is as follows:

  • 16 etchings edited in 75 copies;

  •   2 etchings edited in 95 copies;

  •   1 etching edited in 15 copies

Click here to view the available etchings

You can purchase etchings by Marc-Aurèle Fortin
at the Boutique of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Phone: 514-285-1611

© Fondation Marc-Aurèle Fortin. All rights reserved.