GAUTIER D'AGOTY. Mercure de France, dédié au Roi, Juillet 1749. 228; 213,  pp. Illustrated with a four-colour folding mezzotint (149 x 206 mm) showing an artist's palette. 12mo., 160 x 97 mm, bound in contemporary mottled armorial calf. Paris: Andre Cailleau, 1749.
First Edition of the volume of Mercure de France containing this scarce polemic against J.C. LeBlon (1667-1741) from whom Gautier had learned the art of colour printing. The controversy between these two artists is well documented, but this pamphlet presents Gautier's own view. Here he asserts that he had invented the four-colour process. The author begins with a short and uncharitable account of LeBlon's career, with a description of LeBlon's three-colour printing process. He then relates how he came to Paris as a young man from Marseilles, anxious to produce prints in the manner of certain Indian work that he had first seen in Marseilles. According to Gautier, it was Père Castel who introduced him to LeBlon, with whom he worked for just six weeks until they had a falling out. Three years later, LeBlon died.
"Thus Jacques-Fabien had really been remarkably lucky, though nobody would guess it in the spirit of his essay. Coming to Paris he met the one master of that art he aspired to; learned quickly, left to do his own work and had completed enough for exhibition by the time LeBlon and his 'Privilege' expired... We learn again in some detail the three-colour method of LeBlon, with which his own advance into the use of a black plate for fourth primary colour is contrasted" (Colin Franklin). Gautier also relates, interestingly and with truth, that LeBlon's colour prints were sometimes finished by a brush and oil paints. Finally, Gautier also concedes that LeBlon had used a fourth plate in England.
The work is illustrated with a practical example from the system of Gautier d'Agoty: a folding plate, printed in four-colours, of a painter's palette and scheme of all their colours in possible combination. Joints renewed, else fine.
Hans Wolfgang Singer, "Der Vierfarbendruck in der Gefolgschaft Jacob Christoffel Le Blons" in: Monatsheft für Kunstwissenschaft (1917) Heft 5, p. 185 (no. 30). Franklin, Catalogue of Early Colour Printing pp. 6-7 (but not in the Collection itself). Friedman, Color Printing no. 13. Bigmore & Wyman, p. 257.
Item nr. 168968