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"The Printed World of Bruegel the Elder"
1999-12-05 until 2000-02-13
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Memphis, TN, USA United States of America

Primarily recognized as a painter, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1527/28 - 1569) was also an influential and prolific designer for the leading print publishers of Antwerp. Many of his works were transferred into prints by famous printmakers during his lifetime and for many years afterward. The Printed World of Bruegel the Elder provides a rare opportunity to view the rich and varied imagery of one of the most celebrated artists of the 16th century as interpreted by artist of his day. Comprising 65 etchings and engravings from a private collection, the exhibition is on view through February 6, 2000.

Bruegel's gift for observation combined with his abundant imagination are reflected in prints based on his celebrated Alpine landscapes, as well as his seascapes, depictions of peasants, allegories, satires, and relevant interpretations of the Biblical Scriptures. With the exception of The Rabbit Hunt (1560), thought to be the only print Bruegel ever etched with his own hand, all of the works in the exhibition were executed by printmakers after Bruegel's drawings and paintings. Hieronymous Cock of Aux Quatre Vents, one of the most famous printings houses in Europe collaborated with Bruegel and employed professional engravers and etchers, including Pieter van der Heyton, the brothers Jan and Lucas van Duetecum, Frans Huys, and Philipp Galle to reproduce Bruegel's drawings.

Barbara Butts, former curator of paintings, drawings, and photographs, The Saint Louis Art Museum, has organized the exhibition chronologically. Most of the works in the exhibition were made during Bruegel's lifetime, including rare prints such as The Kermis of Saint George (1559-60) by Jan or Luca van Duetecum and Naval Battle in the Strait of Messina (1561) by Franz Huys.

Several compositions were translated into print shortly after his death, such as the famous Spring (1570) and Summer (1570) by van der Heyden, as well as a few fine examples etched in the 17th century by Hendrick Hondius, Two Carnival Fools (1642) and Rustic Wedding (1644).

The exhibition is organized by The Saint Louis Art Museum. The national tour is organized by the American Federation of Arts. Support has been provided by David J. and Linda Pohs Supino. In conjunction with the exhibition, The Saint Louis Art Museum has published a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Barbara Butts and Joseph Leo Koerner, professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Harvard University.

THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF ARTS Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 1999, the AFA is the nation's oldest and most comprehensive non-profit art museum service organization. The AFA provides its more than 550 member institutions with traveling art exhibitions and educational, professional, and technical support programs developed in coalition with the museum community. Through these programs, the AFA seeks to strengthen the availability of museum to enrich the public's experience and understanding of art.

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