The print connoisseur July 1923 Edited and published by Winfred Porter Truesdell Champlain New York
The etchings of Maurice Achener by Louis Seyden
The olds buildings, the walls pitted by the weather and burned by the sun, the shadowed alleys, seemed to hold a particular appeal for Achener. He loved the harmony here, the discordance there; good portraitist of the towns, he penetrated their innermost secrets with a tender veneration. But nature also held for him its charms, and in particular the trees. Besides playing an expressive role in many of his plates, there are a certain number in which they furnish him with the sole motive. From his first essays in etching Achener saw the tree decoratively (see la Matinée de Printemps, Les Dunes près de Knocke). In Italy the mixture of the silvery trees with the sombre green of the Cypress rejoined the colourist in him, their silhouettes brought also to his compositions an clement of attraction which he used with originality. From this point of view le vivo Alto of Sienne is considered by many collectors to be one of his most personal plates.
In Switzerland the old and picturesque Fribourg, surrounded by precipitous gorges and dominated by the massive tower of its collegiate church, has furnished Achener the subject of six important plates : in default of a really characteristics atmosphere the artist has called to his aid others factors of emotion, violently contrasting lights and shades, profundity of perspective. However, in spite of the great picturesque interest and technique of these plates (of which the best seems to be la Vieille Ville) we prefer to the large view of Sion et la vallée du Rhône, and anove all the small and more recent views of Geneva and its environs, those of Collogny, or la Villa de Lord Byron, more varied in means and expressive of the utmost subtlety.
In the interval of these journeys, and with the exception of the war time (for him, as for so many others, a frightful period of four years) Achener has nearly every year etched some aspect of Paris, into the spirit of which he has a fine insight. If he is not swallowed up into the contemplation of the old capital with the fervour of the Florentines hours, for example, at least he loves with a clairvoyant feeling, taking pleasure in analyzing, and expressing with justness. Few plates of Paris, even the most celebrated, have for me the same appel as the Pont de la Tournelle of 1919, or that of 1920 the moving grace of the Pont Neuf of 1912, the elevated style of la Place de la Concorde of 1919. Some of the older views, such as the Pantheon of 1909 attract us however almost as much, as in spite of the picturesque interest perhaps a little too much in evidence, we find in them an irresistible eloquence expressed in loving fashion meditative and comprehensive.