Edgar Chahine (1874-1947), an Armenian immigrant to France, arrived in Paris with his mother circa 1895, having received his education in Venice. Chahine’s father, a well-heeled banker, had stayed behind in Constantinople and afforded mother and son a life free of financial worry. Young Edgar took advantage of this fully. While he started his artistic career as a painter, by 1899 he was fully vested in the art of making intaglio prints. Chahine became a master, mixing etching with aquatint, often delineating in soft-ground and adding touches of drypoint where needed. He devoted much attention, especially as a young man, to street life and its many characters. Like many of his peers, he also relished in depicting elegance, even when it suggested an “underbelly” of modern life. Along with Jacques Villon and Louis Legrand, he is recognized as one of the most important etchers of the Belle Epoque in France.
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