Frans Pannekoek



Notes to the catalogue

The titles are the traditional ones used by the artist in his inscriptions on the prints, or those used in exhibitions and the literature, followed by an English translation.

Pannekoek often dates his print in the plate and/or in the impressions, so that is the date given after the title. Otherwise an approximate date is indicated by ‘c’ for ‘circa’.

Graphic technique
All of Frans Pannekoek’s prints are in the intaglio technique, with lines being incised below the surface of a plate. Most of them are drawn on the plate in drypoint. The drawing is so fragile that only a limited number of impressions can be made. There are also several etchings, or etchings combined with drypoint, with the drawing being bitten into a metal plate and then transferred with an etching needle onto a metal plate covered with an etching ground. In order to bite the lines into the plate, the back of it is covered with a varnish, to protect it when it is placed in an acid bath. Until around 1985 Pannekoek used nitric acid, but in the 1990s Charles Donker advised him to try ferrous chloride instead, which produces lines that are fairly sharp and regular. Use is sometime made of aquatint in etching, both in order to apply areas of tone to the print and to build up the drawing in delicate tones. Pannekoek’s plates are of zinc and he always prints his impressions himself.
He takes the greatest of care when printing his impressions. For his earliest prints he used a professional press in Haarlem, and since the 1960s he has used a small, converted shoemaker’s press. He also chooses his felt, paper and ink carefully. With the paper, account has to be taken of its thickness, hardness and the degree to which it absorbs moisture. That is also subject to external factors like temperature and humidity. Pannekoek sometimes uses three types of ink, always of the Lefranc & Bourgeois brand, and a white like Blanc de Marly can be employed as well. Tone can be created by leaving ink behind on the plate, some of which can be wiped off in order to leave pale areas in the shaded passages. When printing drypoints the tone always creates a variable haze.
Unlike printing an etching, a drypoint print involves the creation of a raised burr in the zinc that rapidly gets worn down. As Pannekoek describes it, ‘Every time you feed the paper through the press the burr gets worn down slightly and the felt becomes a little flatter, but you mustn’t tighten the press, because then you wear it down even faster. You have to keep pressure to a minimum in order to get as many impressions as possible (around 25). [...] In the search for the best effect, every impression of a drypoint print can differ from all the others, thus taking on the character of a monotype’. He rarely achieves the result he was after in the first few impressions; ‘previously it was only with the 10th, 11th, 12th that you got closest to what you wanted,’ but in his recent prints it was often after only 2 or 3 impressions, so he could carry on working, producing subsequent states, while the earlier lines and burr gradually wore down.

Frans Pannekoek
A crab for Yannick
paper, drypoint, etching, 3rd state 148 x 118 mm
Paris, Fondation Custodia - Collection Frits Lugt, inv./ 2001-P.53
(FP 99-8)

Pannekoek has always been careful when selecting the paper for his prints. Between 1958 and 1968 he used paper made by Van Gelder and Fabriano, and between 1968 and 1980 and again between 1992 and 2000 handmade Whatman paper from the RWS (Royal Watercolour Society). In the period 1977-1992 he favoured three variants of Spanish Guarro paper, and from 2000 handmade paper with the fool’s head watermark from the French Moulin du Verger paper mill in Puymoyen.

Height and width are in millimetres. Shrinkage may result in minor variations of a few millimetres in the size of different impressions of the same print. That is also affected by the weight of the paper (300, 200 or 180 grams).

Inscription in the plate, first state
When legible, inscriptions have been transcribed and are printed in italics and their positions on the sheet recorded. They are often at the bottom of the scene, but some are in the margin or at the top or side. Additions in later states are noted in the description of states.

Print run
The signature on the individual impressions is followed by two numbers. 10/15, for example, means the 10th print in a run of 15. There are often marginal notes pencilled in by the artist immediately after the impression was made with the number of the impression and the date. Those annotations are given in italics together with information about the impression.

Identified as Ie staat, IIe staat (1st state, 2nd state), and so on. The states are distinguished by modifications and additions to the image, by reductions in the size of the etching plate, and by additions to the inscriptions, all such changes being relative to the preceding state.

Most of the etching plates that the artist used are in his studio or are stored in Jerez. The plate for FP 72-17 is held at the Fondation Custodia.

See the chronological list of Exhibitions. Very few of the lists and price lists of prints displayed at sales exhibitions have been preserved, with the exception of those for the Mendez show in 1976.

See the chronological list of Literature. The references there include the reproductions in the publications of 1967 and 1977, and the exhibition catalogues of 1986 and 2011. The 2011 (French) edition has been used for the reference to the Schatborn 2010/2011 exhibition catalogue, which was illustrated in colour, with a slightly different layout of the introduction compared to the Dutch edition.

These cover information about dating, subject, location (if relevant), references to preliminary studies in sketchbooks, and so on, often based on oral communications from the artist.

Individual impressions
With institution and inventory number (wherever possible):
▪ CU Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection, Paris
▪ RP-P Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
▪ HGM Kunstmuseum, The Hague (formerly the Haags Gemeentemuseum)
▪ SM Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
* FM Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Impressions in private collections are indicated with the letters CD, FK, VdS, RW etc.

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