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    [Vues d'Optique]. Three European Views, With Cut-Outs.

    Three eighteenth-century hand-colored optique prints with intricate cut-outs, mostly in windows, meant to be viewed in front of a light source, including: Johann Georg Merz (1694-1762). Veduta della Villa la Pezze è Giardino di Son a Royal. This wonderfully attractive view of the Pitti Palace in Florence is in excellent condition. Cut-outs in the palace windows and in two reflecting pools; cut-out areas are covered with a variety of colored textured cloth on the verso. Print mounted on black cardboard, as issued, with contemporary writing in ink on reverse. Print measures approximately 11.5 x 7.75 inches. [and:] Johann Georg Merz (1694-1762). Innerlicher Prospect des Stieffts Gottwich in Nieder Oesterreich. This colorful view of Göttweig Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Lower Austria is in excellent condition, with some foxing in the image area. Cut-outs - some incredibly tiny - in the monastery windows; cut-out areas are covered with a variety of colored textured cloth on the verso. Print is mounted on black cardboard, as issued, with contemporary writing in ink on reverse. Paper has some puckering. Print measures approximately 11.5 x 7.75 inches. [and:] Johann Christoph Nabholz (1752-1796). Vue de la Place ou Marche aux Bêtes a Prague (with title printed in reverse above the image). This view of Prague is in good to very good condition, with toning, light soiling and staining. Some minor puckering. Cut-outs in windows; cut-out areas are covered with a variety of colored textured cloth on the verso. Print mounted to card stock, presumably as issued. Print measures approximately 16.25 x 12.75 inches.

    Vues d'Optique, also known as "perspective views" or "prospects," were popular in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These hand-colored engravings of picturesque views such as town scenes, landscapes, and foreign and exotic architectural delights were widely collected, and viewing them was all the rage among the upper-classes as after-dinner entertainment. They were meant to be viewed through a zograscope (or "perspective glass"), a simple device comprised of a curved lens and a mirror, resulting in almost three-dimensional images. Similar prints were produced to be viewed though "peep show boxes" (also called "raree boxes"). Prints were inserted into these enclosed boxes, then viewed through a convex lens placed in a hole (or holes) in the box. As many of these prints had cut-out areas which were covered by colored paper or textured cloth on the verso, candles were necessary to provide a light source behind the prints; when viewed, it appeared as if colored lights were emanating from the almost three-dimensional prints. The popularity of these delightful prints was widespread, and these are examples of a fascinating cultural phenomenon that is now almost completely unknown.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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