European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Object Focus

EFHA Focus: ‘Habit de Pescheur’, 1695 ca.

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A curious illustration by Nicolas de Larmessin

The image shows an engraving made by Nicolas de Larmessin II, active in France at the end of seventeenth century.

The subject of the engraving is the fisherman, dressed in nets and with a sort of uniform made of fishes and crustacea of different sizes. On his head, a big hat made of a fish. The engraving is part of a series illustrating the ’right’ outfit for each profession with a grotesque and fantastical style, which anticipates the intuitions and experimentations of surrealist artists of twentieth century.

The image is part of the Israel Museum collection, and precisely of the The Vera and Arturo Schwarz Collection of Dada and Surrealist Art. The Museum owes this rich collection to Art historian Arturo Schwarz, who in 1972 gifted thirteen replicas of readymades by Marcel Duchamp, and then in 1991 the Arturo Schwarz Dada and Surrealist Library, a collection of documents, periodicals, books, manuscripts, and letters. In 1998, on the occasion of Israel’s 50th anniversary year, Schwarz also donated his vast collection of Dada, Surrealist, and pre-Surrealist art, comprising more than 700 works.