Art: Troubled Tinker

Charles Meryon is not a familiar name in art, but it stands for some of the most highly prized etchings ever made. A wizened little man with a black beard and distrustful eye, Meryon 100 years ago set himself the task of putting the people and particularly the architecture of Paris onto copper. A few clear-seeing critics, including Victor Hugo and Charles Baudelaire, praised him to the skies. Meryon brushed aside the praise. He was a perfectionist and he brought no more than a dozen of his meticulously etched plates to the standard that...

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