Inventory # AOL1122-E21335-001

1950 - 2023

About 1789
portfolio of 6 prints, 1998
signed and editioned AP 5/10 on the frontispiece
30 x 30 in, 76.2 x 76.2 cm

Private Collection, USA

Jacques Henric, About 1789: The darkest shadow, the brightest light, Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, France, 1997 (accessed

This portfolio contains six unique encaustic prints published by SOMA Gallery / Icon Editions in La Jolla, Ca. in April 1998.

The works included are:

The New Boss: Jacques


Robespierre's Dream

Charlotte Corday

Mirabeau's First Funeral

Napoleon Shaving at Austerlitz

All works come unframed in the original blue cloth-covered portfolio.

Produced with his traditional medium of encaustic, About 1789 shows Scherman’s exploration of periods of historical violence, eliding them through symbolic icons. While the portfolio’s title signals the start of the French Revolution, the subjects extend further into history that followed, from the revolutionaries themselves through to Napoleon and the Third Reich. A rooster stands in for a new resurgent France; a messy pile of fruit signifies Robespierre’s ambition; a bouquet of peonies the burial of the Comte de Mirabeau (first interred in the Panthéon as a revolutionary hero, later removed and reburied when he was revealed to be in pay of the crown). The remaining portraits are more conventional, but are no more straightforward: stripped of the costumes or symbols, the architects of violence are symbolically reduced - to magnified, half-perceived faces, or the banal action of shaving before a battle - yet maintain the aura of an official portrait. Amplified by the the heightened tactility of encaustic, these images take on the rapid cut of a montage, as Jacques Henric notes: “reprises, painting-over, the framing of faces, that zoom technique, like cinema, which shrinks space, destroys classical perspective, puts each element of reality on the same level, isolates a seemingly insignificant detail, makes use of metonymy which, by the choice of a part in place of the whole… raises meaning to an incandescent pitch.” Through the shock of superimposition, Scherman points to the continuities and symbolic echoes of historic tragedies.

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