Émile-André Schefer - Commemoration Portfolio


Émile-André Schefer was a French artist specialising in railway subjects mostly, but by no means exclusively French orientated. His work, in a wide range of styles, was done for the French railway companies, notably the PLM, for magazine covers and private customers. Two of his pen illustrations featured in The Railway Magazine for some time, at the head of the 'What the Railways are Doing' and 'The Why and the Wherefore' columns. He also worked with Andre Chapelon on the exterior designs of Chapelon's projected locomotives, as featured in the 1938 edition of 'La Locomotive a Vapeur', and also the English translation of the 1952 edition, published by ourselves in 2000.

Schefer died in 1942, at the age of 46, after being run over by a Gestapo car on the streets of Paris, and in 1944, despite the Occupation, a group of his closest friends (the Comité Schefer) arranged for a portfolio of 10 facsimile colour reproductions of works which were considered the most representative of Scheffer's talents. Whilst 1000 numbered portfolios were produced by the printing firm of Paul Dumont, the bulk of these were lost when a fire broke out at the warehouse where they were stored, and consequently complete examples of the Portfolio are rare.

The portfolio we are offering is No. 896. Although the images vary in size, all are printed on sheets 380 mm x 490 mm, as is the 4 page Introduction to Schefer which also describes the subject of each painting. This has a small tear at the bottom of the front page which, other than slight spotting on the surrounds of the prints, is the only damage.  The whole is enclosed in the original blue card, four flap, artists folder.

Seven of the paintings are illustrated, the others are of a Nord 'Chocolat' Atlantic, the 'Twentieth Century Limited', and of a P.-O. Chapelon 4-8-0. What these small illustrations cannot do is to convey the sheer colour of the prints which is amazing, even after 73 years in their folder - it really is very difficult to tell that they are not the original paintings until they are closely inspected.

Also included is a copy of issue No. 425 of the magazine Chemins de Fer which tells, partially in English, of Schefer's life, and illustrates much of his work.

Given the cost of modern prints of locomotive or railway  paintings, this is ridiculously cheap for 10 historic and rare prints!

NB: whilst not heavy, because of the need for special packing and insurance, we may need to ask for a extra amount to cover courier delivery of this Portfolio overseas - depends where you live!