L'ESTAMPE ORIGINALE: Painters, Printers, Paris

L'estampe Originale

MAY 17 — SEPTEMBER 8, 2013

An extraordinary explosion of avant-garde printmaking fueled by new approaches to color lithography and etching, and creative collaborations between artists, printers, and publishers, took place in Paris during the 1890s and early 1900s. Ambroise Vollard, a passionate advocate for Post-Impressionist and Symbolist artists’ prints, was one of these publishers. He selected or cajoled painters into making etchings and lithographs, hired the printers, financed the projects, encouraged demand, and literally created the market for modern prints. Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Odilon Redon, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Paul Signac, and Edouard Vuillard all created prints for portfolios and editions published by Vollard, who also published Pablo Picasso’s early etchings. Other venues for a broader diffusion of original prints included art magazines and posters. Henri Rousseau and Paul Gauguin made original lithographs and etchings bound into art magazines. Pierre Bonnard and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec designed lithographic posters that are now iconic images of 19th-century France. The physician Dr. Paul Gachet, an amateur etcher and art collector who lived in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris, made etchings with Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh. The latter, whose only etching was his portrait of Gachet, dreamed of achieving fame through printmaking, since he was unable to sell his paintings. Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Berthe Morisot published their own experimental etchings and aquatints. Jacques Villon produced delicious color aquatint and drypoint etchings that evoke the demi-monde of the Belle Époque. A recent acquisition, Paul Cézanne’s Untitled (Small Bathers) color lithograph, 1893, which was published by Vollard, is a highlight of the exhibition. 

L’estampe originale is organized by Amy N. Worthen, curator of prints and drawings.

Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947)
Les Peintres-Graveurs (The Painter-Printmakers), 1896
Lithograph on paper
Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections;
Gift of Kenneth E. Hartman, Elise Bloom Hartman Memorial, 1966.8

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