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Lithographs by Jules Auguste Habert-Dys on View at Tides Institute and Museum of Art
Detail of Habert-Dys Lithograph, Plate 38 from Fantaisies Decoratives (1887).

EASTPORT, ME.- Jules Auguste Habert-Dys: Lithographs from Fantasies Decoratives (1887)--From the Collections of Peter Falotico is the second new exhibition of the season at the Tides Institute and Museum of Art in Eastport on view from July 29 – August 19.

Jules Auguste Habert-Dys (1850 – 1924) was born in Fresnes, France. He studied ceramics with Ulysse Bernard at Blois and settled in Paris in 1873, where he spent four years in the atelier of Jean-Leon Gerome. He was subsequently influenced by the graphic artist, Felix Bracquemond, whose own work was among the very first to reflect the new trend of Japonisme in France.

Commodore Matthew Perry reopened commerce with isolationist Japan in 1854, after that country’s ports had been sealed for over two centuries. In 1856, in Paris, the etcher, Felix Bracquemond, discovered a volume of the Japanese artist Hokusai’s sketches and soon became an early and fierce proponent of all things Japanese. Edouard Manet and Jules Auguste Habert-Dys were among the artists he influenced with his avid admiration for Japanese creations. The actual term ‘Japonisme’, was first used by Jules Clartie in his book, L’Art Francais, published in 1872 to describe the influence of the arts of Japan upon Western art.

By 1886, Habert-Dys was a well-respected designer and illustrator, but the main problem for him, in terms of posterity, is his subtle style. Without seeing the originals, his work is not striking enough to attract attention and no reproduction can do justice to the delicate, beautiful, details and colors that he incorporates into his designs. The Fantasies Decoratives, published in 1886, was a one-year project with forty-eight lithographs issued in twelve parts. The colored gravures, many containing gold, were printed on “papier du Chine” by noted lithographer, Charles Gillot (1853 – 1903), whose work was so respected that his lithographs were called “Gillotypes”.

The intricate patterns, featuring birds, animals, flowers, fish, insects, shellfish, and frogs, were designed for ceramics, plates and dishes, textiles, wallpaper, vases, and jewelry. In these exquisite creations, Habert-Dys adopted many elements of Japanese influence (Japonisme), which reflect the late nineteenth century’s fascination with Japanese art. The Fantasies Decoratives also contain elements of line and curve that later became an intrinsic characteristic of the next major movement in the art world, Art Nouveau. Each of the prints exhibited here is an original lithograph from one of the twelve parts printed in 1886.

Jules Auguste Habert–Dys is a prime example of the many successful, talented designers and artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that have not been well documented. For this reason, very little is known about him and only the most tenacious search of library catalogues and bibliographies will reveal small fragments of information, even though he was fairly prolific. Quite a number of books were illustrated by him, and his objects are scattered throughout museums all over the world, including a 250 piece service in the Musee du Pole de la Porcelaine.

In addition to the Fantasies Decoratives, a selection from the permanent collections focusing on the border regions of the U.S./Canada northeast coast will be on view on the second floor. Public programs this summer will feature a presentation on the Architecture of New England and the Atlantic Provinces: Perspectives from Maine and New Brunswick to be held on July 24; and Parish Maps: England to America, Building a Sense of Place through the Work of Common Ground a week long program held August 9 -14, with a panel on Public Art and Sense of Place on August 13 at 7:00 pm, featuring Sue Clifford, Hamish Fulton, Lucy Lippard and Ron Shuebrook.

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Lithographs by Jules Auguste Habert-Dys on View at Tides Institute and Museum of Art

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