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Dear David,
I have two pictures which have been in my family for as long as I can remember. I thought the internet may be a good way to research them as I am curious as to who the artist is and the location of the scenes depicted.
You can view them on a web page I have set up today here http://homepage.ntlworld.com/john.brophy1/pictures.html
There is close up detail of the signature and other features on the web page.
From research I have done so far the name Frédéric Louis Leve is the closest I have found to the signature. Is it possible to confirm or discount this as his signature. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Regards
John

Answer
You are probably spot on John.

Frédéric Louis Levé  
He is listed as; Painter and graveur, born Paris July 1877.
Trained-school of Gérome.
His strengths lie in water colours and as an engraver.

He was a member of the SALON DES ARTISTES FRANÇAIS
Receiving an honourable mention in 1908.

Useful for you to contact them directly, it should give you further avenues to go down once you get some more snippets of information.
Ask them for a copy of the entry for;
CATALOGUE DES SALON DES ARTISTES FRANCAIS, 1908. ...Levé  

Their address is:
Société des Artistes Français - Grand Palais Porte H, avenue Winston Churchill 75008 PARIS.
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The places in the pictures are:
Chateau Vieille Ville. The Old town Nice. 'cours Saleya'
One is Rue de Boucher at Rue de la Hille au Herbes

I think if you were to contact the curator at:

Musee d'Art et d'Histoire Palais Massena
65 rue de France, Nice, France
Tel: 04-93-88-11-34

I am sure they will be able to pin point the buildings for you and maybe even tell you a lot more about the artist, who although is listed, is not particularly ‘written about.'
This is usually a good indicator that he would have been 'localised' in his success and stature.
It would therefore follow, that any information on him will be more forthcoming 'provincially' so you need to source that information by taking a 'more localised' approach.
I suspect, even though the Internet is a wonderful place, you wont find a dramatic amount about him there.
What you can do though, is to source curators, galleries and museums, libraries and Universities and contact them by e mail.
They are more akin to their local people and will undoubtedly be able to corroborate the issue.
There are literally thousands of these highly proficient and talented local artists, in countries all over the world. They make it good in their region but never become huge superstars!

Even with someone as famous as Charles Georget, with 35 Paris Salon exhibits to his credit, virtually nothing was written on him.
I had to spend weeks in France digging locally here and there to get the book together.
*************************************************************************

You are right about the Aquatint.
The deep embossed edge as you put it, is where the paper came into contact with the metal plate and was indented by the pressure process.

Aquatint, as you know, is a special form of etching.
It is created by etching 'sections' rather than lines on a plate.
For etchings, the plate is first covered with an acid-resistant wax or resin ground. Then the image is incised into the wax or resin layer with an etching needle.

Finally the plate is dipped into acid.

The result is that the acid bites into the exposed lines where the wax or resin was removed. These acid-bitten areas then have the effect of holding the ink for transfer onto paper.
It is one of the very old techniques dating back to the fourteenth century when it was used to apply decorations on armour.
Rembrandt in the middle of the seventeenth century pushed the etching technique to new heights.

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The pictures certainly look to be 20's/30's from the fashion, length of skirts etc.
Undoubtedly, Levé, like other commercially orientated artists, would have made a series of works like this. Effectively, they would be very marketable to the tourist industry.
Shrewd move on his part, as Nice was so fashionable!

The numbers at the bottom?
The 2nd pencil number relates to how many pictures were actually printed and the first to the print edition. (The successive number of that particular print.)
So 35/100 = number thirty five out of only 100.


Photos of old Nice for you here at:
http://www.alpix.com/nice/htmlen/pict2.htm

Hope this all helps.
Good luck with the research.

My Best, David

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David Freeman

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Art Historian, Fine Art Consultant and author. British School and Barbizon School expert. Biographer of; Ch. Jean Georget - Édouard Frére - Thos Faed - Henry Barraud - Alexander Franz Loemans and many more. Happy to help in any academic or advisory capacity.

Experience

David Freeman is a British Art Historian, a fine author and educationalist with 35 years of experience in the world of fine art to his credit.
He is also an International Fine Art Consultant and the busiest appraiser in North America. David is also the Executive Director and founder of the The Freemanart Consultancy.
Working from bases on both sides of the Atlantic Canada, Germany, the UK and Spain, David tours extensively with the Roadshow.

His personal specialisms include:
The Investigation and Identification of Art Fraud and Counterfeit works.

Much of his time is spent Authenticating Paintings and works of art, concentrating on Forensic and Academic Research and Provenance verification for clients throughout the world

Mr Freeman lectures Internationally to Conferences and at University level throughout North America and has appeared many times on the television.
David Freeman writes extensively on his specialised subject as well as formulating artist biographies.
More information:
Freemanart Web site; http://www.freemanart.ca
He is currently writing a book on the life of eminent Canadian Artist Conyers Barker called, the Horizontal Boy. Hosts the new TV series Treasures that Talk and writing the script of a new Documentary series, Secret Britain.

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