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(GUYNEMER, Georges) FARRE, Henri.

Inscribed Etched Portrait of the Most Famous French Ace of World War I.

Published: Paris: Musée de l'Armée, 1917

Stock code: 87404

Price: £750

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

Limited edition of 70, this number 9, additionally inscribed in black pencil-crayon, “à Mademoiselle Germaine Fischer, hommage de ma respectueuse sympathie, H. Farre”. Guynemer was without doubt one of the most charismatic flyers of the First World War. By the time of his death in September 1917, aged just 22, brought down by a concerted enemy attack near Poelkapelle, he had accumulated 53 confirmed victories. Confirming in action his motto: “Until one has given all, one has given nothing.” Even though he was 43 in 1914, Farre, an École des Beaux Arts trained artist, managed to persuade someone to allow him to sign up as an orderly in a bomber squadron. He was then co-opted as an official war artist, but accepted only if allowed to continue in active service, serving for three years as an observer-bombardier. At the end of the war he embarked on a tour of France and America with an exhibition of his artwork to raise funds for the families of pilots killed in the war, meeting his wife and settling in Chicago. He was made Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur for his work during the war, and awarded the Médaille d’or du Salon de Paris in 1934 for his painting depicting the his four sons, who had died in the war.

Etching in sanguine (495 293 mm), some applied colour, now faded. Framed and glazed in contemporary plain wood frame, now with UV protection glass. Half-length bust portrait, in three-quarter profile, showing Guynemer in a fur-lined flying helmet with his medal and awards up; etched facsimile signatures of both Guynemer, dated 20, fevrier 17, and Farre, 1917, together with a remarque of Guynemer’s Spad XII downing an Albatross. Light browning, and a little spotting, but overall very good.

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