Circa 1866: European Prints from the Collection

Sep 03, 2016 - Jan 15, 2017
Volpe Gallery

Circa 1866:  European Prints from the Collection

The 1860s was a pivotal time for artistic innovation in Paris and London. Artists increasingly featured both the directly observed local landscape and scenes from contemporary life in their works, laying the foundation for impressionism, the painting style that has come to represent the beginning of modern art. Painters also rediscovered the venerable printmaking medium of etching, which had been practiced by Rembrandt and other earlier masters but which fell out of favor following the invention of lithography in 1798. Artists saw etching as an alternative vehicle for creative expression and a versatile means for making original works that would appeal to a growing market of art collectors. While artists like James McNeill Whistler and Charles Daubigny produced etchings as an extension of their painting practice, others, including Charles Meryon and Félix Bracquemond, devoted most of their careers to printmaking. 

This exhibition features prints by artists working in France and England during the 1860s and early 1870s, selected from the Zimmerli Art Museum’s renowned collection of nineteenth-century works on paper. They represent a new generation of artists who embraced the expressive qualities of etching and realized works with rich contrasts of light and dark that utilize a range of freely drawn and precise lines. Figural painters such as Jean-François Millet and Édouard Manet explored different combinations of marks to create their depictions of urban and rural types, while landscape specialists including Maxime Lalanne and Auguste Delâtre demonstrate the range of atmospheric effects possible through etching.  

Several of these works have been part of the Zimmerli’s collection since the museum was founded in 1966 as the Rutgers University Art Gallery. On this occasion of the Zimmerli’s golden anniversary, the prints on view celebrate the museum’s graphic arts collection and its strength in nineteenth-century French art, built over the last fifty years.

Organized by Christine Giviskos, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and European Art

Maxime Lalanne

Paris vue prise du Pont de la Concorde, 1867

Etching and drypoint on paper

14 9/16 x 24⅝ in.  (37 x 62.6 cm)

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

Museum Purchase

74.014.003

Photo Peter Jacobs