Jules Vallée Guérin (AKA Guerin)

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Thomas Paquette

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About the Guerin Prints:

The University Art Shop, Inc. (American Art Publishers, c1906-c1921) was located in the downtown Evanston, IL landmark office building, at 208 University Building 1604-1606 Chicago Avenue. The University Art Shop sold halftone lithographs in the Arts & Crafts style of historic American architectural landmarks and French châteaus from the famous American artist, illustrator & muralist Jules Vallée Guérin (American, 1866-1946), and color reproductions of paintings by the well known artist Frits (Fritz) Thaulow (Norwegian, 1847-1906) as well as Arts & Crafts motto prints, historical reprints, greeting cards, religious prints, various Venetian & Italian scenes and landmarks, hand colored place cards, bookmarks and various other art novelties. The company was run by the avid art collector Charles Addison Wightman (American, 1861-1934) who was then president of the company and is known for the former Wightman Memorial Art Gallery (formerly Bond Hall) which was located in the Library of the University of Notre Dame. The Wightman Memorial Art Gallery was named in honor of his late wife Cecelia after Charles had donated 108 paintings to the college in 1924, and it later became part of the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame in 1980. F.H. Walker was the Treasurer & Secretary of the company.

In 1906, the University Art Shop published a series of 12 halftone lithographic color prints in the Arts & Crafts style called the “Jules Guérin Prints” (or just Guérin Prints) which consisted of many well known American landmark buildings and famous French châteaus (castles) to include; “The White House, Washington”, “The Washington Monument (Nocturne Scene)”, “The Library of Congress, Washington (Jefferson Building)”, “Library of Columbia University”, “Independence Hall, Philadelphia”, “Smithsonian Institution, Washington”, “The Capitol, Washington”, “Christmas Night-Old Trinity, New York”, “Le Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, France”, “Château of Langeais, France”, “Château Lynes (Luynes), France”, “Château Amboise, France”, and I believe other Guérin prints may have been added after that. The “Guérin Prints” were first published in 1906 for use in colleges & universities as well as other various school/classroom decorations and picture study and were issued in two sizes large (about 24” x 16”) and small (about 15” x 10”). The larger “Guérin Prints” were beautifully reproduced and sold for $6.00 back in the day which equals about $150 in today’s dollar, which was fairly expensive to purchase even back at that time period and the smaller ones sold for $3.50 which equals about $85—also quite expensive. The Thaulow prints were also beautifully reproduced and were only a few inches larger (18” x 22”) than the “Guérin Prints” and sold for a whopping $12.00 (mounted) which equals about $300 in today’s dollar.

(Written by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., meibohmfinearts.com)