Artist: Edmund Blampied
Edmund Blampied’s most famous print and one of the great masterpieces of the British Etching Revival, Le Chef d’Oeuvre is the most sought-after of all of Edmund Blampied’s original prints.
The French title of this work is essentially a play on words. Le Chef d’Oeuvre, means the masterpiece, crowning achievement, or tour de force of an artist or craftsman. Here, a head chef is seen about to taste what is anticipated to be the finest creation of his kitchen, watched expectantly by his sous-chef; whilst Blampied’s picture is itself his masterpiece.
The witty humour which pervades Edmund Blampied’s subjects of this nature has no serious counterpart in British original printmaking of the 20th century. This image is, in many ways the ultimate product of an artist who grew up with the combined traditions of the French and English backgrounds shared by the people of the Channel Islands. It exemplifies British original printmaking techniques of the period whilst reflecting the traditions of wit and humour found in much earlier English caricatures, yet it shows a French understanding of the importance of perfection when it comes to the culinary arts.
Whilst Driving Home in the Rain was regarded as the great work amongst Blampied’s early etchings, Le Chef d’Oeuvre immediately became the dominant image of his mature work and as the years have passed it is this latter work which has become regarded as Blampied’s own masterpiece and the most sought-after of all of his original prints.
(Campbell Fine Art)