Numa Guyot- Founder N. Guyot & Sons

"Unfortunately" for  Numa he took up the etching and engraving steel and copper plates  at the time this media was waning. New photographic techniques had eliminated the need for the plate makers in commercial printing, although the skills he learned would serve him well.

It is also interesting that even though there was no market for his plates  he continued on with his passion creating three magical and powerful prints. In a style as neat and precise as the illustrative works of the great Jacques Callot, Numa's painstaking attention to detail almost overwhelms viewers, before they are gripped with the energy and humanness reminiscent of Rembrandt.

Those familiar with the works of Callot will see his influence but with two very striking differences. The first is Numa's the passion. The second being Numa's extravagant imagination

Callot, Abrahame Bosse, and Sebasian LeCerc  were  great commercial plate makers. Even casual study of their subjects ranging from LeClerc's illustrations of the building of the Lourve to Callot's "Fair at Impruneta" shows they were intended to present the "news" and not their imaginations. As a result these and their other brilliant works, done with a "Precision seen only by a discerning  few",  lack the passion and humanness that Numa was able to bring to his works.

Numa’s imagination allowed him to remove himself from the harsh realities required of the other engravers and allowed him to tell his version of a story full of elegance and grace.

Numa and King Neptune

If you look at these prints in the order in which they were made, you can also see perhaps, the story of a young man’s life. The first print made in 1887, is almost like it’s the view of a youth into the real world, beauty is seen not only in the birds and the flowers that surround the gate, but in King Neptune's promise shown in the sea and  exotic villages beyond. 

 

Beautiful print showing a mountains and exotic village through King Neptune's gate.

Numa and The Green Man

 

When  you proceed to the second print, created in 1892,  perhaps you can see the turmoil the young man feels as he turns to adulthood or searches for a new life.. You can still see the beauty, along with a strong sense of strength and symmetry, but at the same time you can see the danger and the risk. The draw of far away places expressed not only in the "village beyond" but the texture of the ferns and flora as well all under the watchful gaze of the Green Man.

At a simple level, the subject is bountiful nature. Surveying the scene is a “Green Man”, with foliage sprouting from his head and face. The Green Man symbol dates back over two millenia, and, again at a simple level, signifies humanity’s obvious connections with the natural world. Over the years, the symbol has evolved from a pagan nature icon, to haunting foliate images found in sacred precincts of medieval cathedrals all over Europe, and finally to its contemporary expression as a leitmotif for the “Green” movement, appearing in garden sculpture, paintings, stained glass, business cards
and even beautiful country inns.

On a more personal level, however, the Green Man signifies our ability to transform ourselves in response to daunting challenges. Numa came from Switzerland as a superb classical artist, but was challenged by circumstances where most of us would probably have given up. So this wonderfully executed etching speaks to us from the past. It suggests that our founder found the strength to transform himself from sources deep within his art - sources that have continued to nourish the growth of our company to the present day.

 

A mutli-scene print with an extraordinary green man, deer, a tiny waterfall and beautiful flora. 

Numa's daring adventure

 

When you look at the third unfinished print, circa unknown, you can see that it clearly shows a daring adventure. Perhaps Numa was dreaming of his family's move to America ?

 

Numa's daring adventure,a young woman on a horse being escorted by two gaurds.


When you first view these prints, it is quite easy to be mesmerized by a sense of childlike wonder. Then suddenly, you find yourself  overwhelmed by the extravagant detail of this fascinating temptation. These fantastic prints magically become part of your life with their hypnotic promise and leave you spellbound with the powerful revelation that something may have just pierced your soul.

Numa Guyot made magic with his engraving tools and a blank sheet of copper. The skills and workmanship that went into these etchings are the cornerstone of the Guyot Brothers Co Inc ornamental stamping line.

 

Looking for that other Numa, 
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Phone 508-222-2000 Fax 508-222-3011 Email info@guyotbrothers.com

 
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