Origins of the Twentieth Century: Watercolors and Drawings in France, 1875-1915

Hermann Réne Georges Paul (called Hermann-Paul): Aux Champs-Elysées, ca. 1895
Sep 01, 2005 - Mar 12, 2006
European Galleries

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century as the Arts and Crafts Movement in France offered increased opportunities to work in printmaking media, especially that of lithography, drawing became an essential stage in the production of both limited-edition prints and mass-produced commercial ephemera. This development is explored in Origins of the Twentieth Century, an exhibition of over two hundred watercolors and drawings that derives primarily from the Zimmerli’s extensive holdings of turn-of-the-twentieth-century French graphic arts. The show concentrates in large part on the use of artists’ preparatory drawings in the creation of prints and illustrations for books and journals.

An introductory section presents earlier nineteenth-century works from the collection by such noted artists as Eugène Delacroix, J. M. W. Turner, and Gustave Moreau. It serves as background to the main focus of the exhibition by demonstrating many of the important aesthetic concerns of anti-academic Romantic, Realist, and Symbolist artists. The majority of the exhibition is devoted to investigating the ways that artists creatively adapted to and manipulated new photomechanical printing processes developed during the last quarter of the nineteenth century in order to gain income and reach wider audiences.

Hermann Réne Georges Paul (called Hermann-Paul)

Aux Champs-Elysées, ca. 1895

Ink, wash, watercolor, graphite, and gouache

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

Museum Purchase, Regina Best Heldrich Fund