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Charles-Melchior Descourtis


Charles-Melchior Descourtis (born in Paris 1753) was a French printmaker. He specialized in the production of color prints using aquatint and wash-manner. Among his earliest known works were a series of four engravings of views of Paris and Rome after paintings by Pierre Antoine de Machy, which appeared in 1784. He collaborated with Janinet on the illustrations for Vues remarquables des montagnes de la Suisse in 1785, which were engraved after several artists.

He is best known, however, for his four color prints after the genre scenes of Nicolas-Antoine Taunay, notably the Village Wedding (1785) and the Village Fair (1788). The subtle green tones of the landscape setting complement the white and red of the small figures, successfully conveying the gentle mood of Taunay's rural scenes. The second pair, the Tambourine and the Brawl, both animated and slightly grotesque compositions, are less finely executed. Such prints of genre scenes were avidly collected by contemporaries. Descourtis also produced a number of portrait engravings, including Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia (1791).

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