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.
Numa and The Green Man
proceed to the second print, created in 1892, perhaps you can see the turmoil
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.
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.
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 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.
for that other Numa,
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