The year was 2004. Undoubtedly over a coffee and a chocolate croissant, engravers Pierre Albuisson and Yves Beaujard got together to discuss the state of the world. Or, to be more precise, the plight of the art of engraving. Pierre was so worried that he felt something needed to be done, or else the art would die out and with it the hand-engraved, recess-printed stamp. He proposed the founding of an association to promote and safeguard the production of hand-engraved stamps. Needless to say, Yves couldn't agree more.
And so, in 2005, the Art du Timbre Gravé was born. Pierre Albuisson, its founder and ideological father, naturally became President, and Yves Beaujard became Vice-President.
To promote the art of engraving in general, the idea was to issue one or two engraved prints each year, which would be made available to the association's members. The first one was engraved by Yves Beaujard. The design has since become symbolic for the association, with its two creative hands: one designing, the other engraving. It was printed in 2005.
In 2012, Yves Beaujard engraved another of these special prints, this time depicting an Andorran scene. It was designed by his daughter Sophie, who is a stamp designer.
It was of course only fitting that Yves Beaujard would be called upon again in 2015, the year the association celebrated its tenth anniversary. He engraved a symbolic illustration of the two-faced god Janus.
The choice of Janus is meant to symbolise looking both to the past and the future. Seen in that light it is a very fitting subject matter, and the engraving is a gorgeous one, but somehow I'm always reminded of the fact that, in Holland at least, we see Janus as a symbol of negativity and indecisiveness. He has a 'Janus Head' being the saying over there, meaning he's a two-faced person. I'm quite sure the English expression 'two-faced' is also derived from the symbol of Janus, but maybe the French just see Janus as a symbol for eternity, a joining of past and future? Funny how all that works...