Here is another artist who suffers the ignominy of being almost completely unknown for two perfectly ridiculous reasons. René Lorrain (born in Nancy in 1873) has the misfortune of having a common first name (for France of that time), and a last name that can easily be spelled Lorraine, a region of France. Try to stand out when your name is John Michigan: good luck. Secondly, after being taught painting it seems mostly by the great Gustave Moreau, René Lorrain specialized in the creation of color aquatints, which he applied mostly for the reproduction of other people’s compositions, as well as for illustrations. Being in the service of the promotion and vulgarization of other artists’ oeuvres rarely leads to personal fame. So, here we are wondering who René Lorrain was. Biographically speaking we have little. But, based on some research into publications and auction records, it becomes clear that he survived the first World War and remained regularly active at least into the early 1930s. Lorrain was a masterful etcher, who could superimpose colors in ways that achieved painterly effects that most of his contemporaries could only dream of attaining. The breadth of his output is still unclear, but he is known to have etched masterpieces of his own compositions, some amazing works after others, but also created some sad commercial touristy etchings, which do nothing to elevate his recognition. However, when René Lorrain was “on”, which was more often than not, he created some of the extremely attractive color aquatints. He deserves to be further rediscovered.
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