dans les cartons de l'artiste

Wodwo

Senior Member
UK English
I am wondering if we use the word "carton" in English for a storage system for finished artworks on paper. Here is the context, Y is an artist:
Nous savons de façon certaine que la gravure était achevée au plus tard en septembre 1864, X mentionnant sa présence dans les cartons de Y dans un article de L’Union des Arts du 1er octobre 1864.

I imagine cardboard separators rather than boxes, but I haven't been able to verify at all. Does anyone know?
 
  • Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Yes, I think that's right for the kind of thing that people store or carry drawings in, usually for the purposes of showing them to someone else. But although that's probably the kind of object in question here, I don't feel the connotation is quite right and using the plural sounds weird to me ("in Y's portfolios"). He was prolific and would have needed more than one.

    I don't know for sure where these "cartons" were, but I imagine in his studio.
     

    Garoubet

    Senior Member
    French - France, Quebec
    Carton in this context is a sketch, to scale or in real dimensions, from which the final version is made. It has nothing to do with portfolio. I've seen the word carton in English few times, but I don't know if it's really used. Oddly enough, there in no English version in Wikipedia. Carton (art) — Wikipédia
     

    StefKE

    Senior Member
    French - Belgium
    Sometimes "dans les cartons" is used in a more figurative way to refer to projects or (in this case) works of art that are finished but haven't yet been used or displayed. But it's hard to tell if this is the case here.

    Carton in this context is a sketch, to scale or in real dimensions, from which the final version is made. It has nothing to do with portfolio. I've seen the word carton in English few times, but I don't know if it's really used. Oddly enough, there in no English version in Wikipedia. Carton (art) — Wikipédia
    I'm not sure "carton" is used in the sense of "sketch" here as the sentence says "l'oeuvre était achevée en septembre 1864" and the article in L'Union des Arts was published afterwards. :confused:
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi again Garoubet. I think what you're referring to is usually called a "cartoon" in English - a preliminary sketch for a tapestry or something. This is definitely not the case here. The engraving mentioned in the original sentence above is a finished artwork after a painting, being stored.

    Thanks StefKE, I didn't know that use of "dans les cartons". That said, in this case (and with this writer) this is unlikely to be a metaphorical use of the phrase, whose metaphorical meaning is presumably grounded in the reality of storing drawings.
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I rather like "among his collection of works", which would get the meaning over perfectly well. Though they probably would have been in portfolios.

    To lentulax, cardboard boxes don't make good storage for artworks on paper, which come in different sizes, need not to get creased and are generally stored with something to separate them and in a way that makes them easy to view individually.
     

    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    cardboard boxes don't make good storage for artworks on paper, which come in different sizes, need not to get creased and are generally stored with something to separate them and in a way that makes them easy to view individually.
    OK ; but we're talking about engravings, not paintings or drawings, boxes come in different sizes, and various things (e.g. translucent acid-free paper) can be (and are) used for interleaving prints etc. in storage. Solander boxes are standard storage units for prints, etc.; I'm not suggesting this as a translation, since , nowadays anyway, solander boxes are usually associated with high-end conservation projects and are made of plywood etc., but it's easy enough to think of a cardboard version ; and indeed nowadays cardboard is used for what are called phase boxes or , in fact, 'card boxes'.
     

    Reynald

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    ... to refer to projects or (in this case) works of art that are finished but haven't yet been used or displayed. But it's hard to tell if this is the case here.
    'in Y's studio among his collection of works'?
    C'est aussi le sens que je choisirais pour les cartons. Parce que c'est le sens habituel. (Lexique)
    Les cartons sont les études faites par les artistes avant d'entreprendre l'exécution d'un tableau...

    La gravure achevée a été retrouvée dans l'atelier de l'artiste, parmi ses œuvres en cours.
     
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    Reynald

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    Quelques citations qui illustrent le sens (4 et 12) qui me semble être le bon (site de musée) :
    Le testament qu’il rédige le 17 septembre 1897 va expliciter ses dernières volontés de manière très claire : il lègue sa maison avec tout ce qu’elle contient, peintures, dessins, cartons...

    Dans les listes de « choses à faire » que Moreau laisse à la fin de sa vie, on le voit s’intéresser très fortement à ses dessins. Soucieux de laisser un musée conforme à ses vues, il les trie, s’inquiète des maries-louises, des cadres. Dans un projet de testament vraisemblablement rédigé vers 1893 10, cette question est largement évoquée : « Pousser vigoureusement et achever la mise en lumière de tous mes dessins et de mes grands cartons.

    Catalogue sommaire. Peintures, dessins, cartons et aquarelles. Œuvres de Gustave Moreau, Paris, Librairies-imprimeries réunies, 1902.
    Est-ce qu'un peintre évoquerait ses portefeuilles de rangement ? Un critique d'art ? Un catalogue de musée ?
     
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    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    "Cartons" can have the sense of "cartoons" or designs to be reproduced elsewhere, eg:
    Historically, weavers worked while facing what would be the back of the tapestry. They copied with their colored weft threads the tapestry's design. The design, referred to as the "cartoon," took the form of a painting—made on cloth or paper, the same size as the planned tapestry
    https://www.metmuseum.org/blogs/now-at-the-met/2014/making-a-tapestry

    This is not the meaning in my context. "Cartons" appears mainly in the phrase "dans ses cartons", but in relation to one instance of this, a footnote states:
    X a fait appel en notre faveur à ses souvenirs sur l’homme dont la vie fut pendant plusieurs années étroitement mêlée à la sienne, et qui, comme graveur, profita tant de son expérience professionnelle, amicalement mise à sa disposition. Ses cartons se sont ouverts pour appuyer de documents rares et précieux les faits évoqués...

    In my context "cartons" are things you can open, containing documents. Cardboard boxes are possible for documents, but unlikely for serious artworks. It's possible the "cartons" were what lentulax refers to as "solander boxes", which is a term I didn't know, but look to be similar to what I would call "box files". I am wary of using so specific a term when I don't know where X stored his engravings. I'm going to go for a fudge. Thanks all.
     
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    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I'll just add that the existence of a finished engraving in September 1864 could not be proved by evidence that a carton=preliminary sketch existed on October 1st 1864, so that meaning would make a nonsense of the passage quoted, except for the unlikely case that a finished engraving was found amongst a collection of preliminary designs.
     

    traducting

    Member
    English Usa
    portfolio folders. I have never seen drawing or engravings stored in cardboard boxes. They are almost constantly stored in cardboard folders. the word portfolio alone more often refers to a body of work than the thing that stores it. though sometimes the folder is called a portfolio.
    If I say, let me show you my portfolio, that means showing the work regardless of its container. portfolio case is also an expression and can be used variously but portfolio folder is the least ambiguous I believe. but in the context portfolios might ring better in the sentence.
     
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    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thanks. Like you, I think a portfolio is the most likely form of container for works on paper. My problem with it in my particular context is that I don't think we really use it in the plural and also, to me at least, it implies a group of works to be shown to someone else, for whatever purpose, rather than pure storage, which is what I'm looking for here.
     

    traducting

    Member
    English Usa
    portfolio is generally a or the body of work to show to someone; portfolio folders are the cardboard containers which are called cartons in French.
    the world portfolio for a body of work is portfolio in English or in French, so would have been portfolio in the original text.

    the original text says Nous savons de façon certaine que la gravure était achevée au plus tard en septembre 1864, X mentionnant sa présence dans les cartons de Y dans un article de L’Union des Arts du 1er octobre 1864.

    So here they are talking about the place of an engraving. It is either in cardboard boxes which are called cartons in French or in portfolio folders (usually big cardboard folders), also called cartons.

    Cardboard boxes were apparently invented in 1890 so that's out as an option for 1864.

    Cardboard box - Wikipedia

    "The Scottish-born Robert Gair invented the pre-cut cardboard or paperboard box in 1890"

    in

    carton — Wiktionnaire
    definition number 4 is :
    "Carton à dessin, rangement pour dessins, gravures etc. composé de deux cartons reliés par un soufflet."
     
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