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Manuel Robbe was born 1872 in Paris and from a very young age, Robbe was attracted to sketching and painting. After studying at the Condorcet and Louis-le-Grand schools, he entered the Julian Academy, and, subsequently the Ecole des Beaux-Art. He began with lithographs such as his color poster Léclatante (1895) which could not be classified as truly Art Nouveau, but was nevertheless very influenced by that style. He did other posters, which he himself printed, but quickly discovered the art of etching thanks to Eugene Delatre and also through a meeting with Jacques Villon whom he would always hold in high esteem. Critics looked upon him favorably, and the merchant-editor Edmond Sagot who had been associated with him since 1898, bought his first works. The gold medal he won for an engraving at the World Expo of 1900 enhanced his reputation and commissions.
Robbe takes his place at the side of color engraving specialists at the end of the 19th Century and at the beginning of the 20th Century, and he produced over two hundred pieces in the medium. His remarkable technique allowed him to obtain beautiful velvety blacks, which made the voided areas of the print grab the viewer.
He used sugar aquatints, outlining the subject on zinc with a piece of sugar and India ink, then after several applications with varnish and heating to obtain an engraving made of the softest greys as well as the deepest blacks, he would finish them by passing colors over the plate with a brush, a swab or even his finger.
1900 Awarded a Medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris
Exhibitions during lifetime
1898 Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts
- Phillips Collection, DC
- Fine Art Institute, Chicago
- Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco
- Redding Museum of Art and History, California
- University of Redlands Peppers Art Gallery, California
- Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts