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"From Manet to Picasso: Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Prints and Drawings"
2001-04-06 until 2001-06-10
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY, USA United States of America

For the first time in its history, Vassar College's Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center will feature a broad range of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist holdings of works on paper created in the second half of the 19th century and the earliest years of the 20th century. In this richly experimental era in French art, artists sought to translate onto canvas and paper certain leisurely moments by suggesting the verdant atmosphere of a country landscape, for example, or the cerebral musing of a museum visitor. Recreating a personal window upon the world, these modernists emphasized the pictorial elements of a scene, suggesting through paint and printer's ink the visual immediacy of the moment, whether that glimpse is a color-saturated spring day or a gray-toned, muted reverie. Later 19th century modernists, termed Post-Impressionists, emphasized the structures of objects, with frequent use of patterns, lines, and flat planes of color often enhanced with symbolic overtones.

Prints and drawings ranging from the time of Edouard Manet in mid-century to the early Picasso at the end of the century comprise this survey of works by some of the most well known artists of the time. Impressionists in the exhibition include Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissaro, and Mary Cassatt. Post-Impressionists include Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, and Edouard Vuillard of the Nabis. Picasso, influenced in his youth by the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, is represented in the exhibition by an early vibrant drawing in gouache and crayon. 

In focusing upon the intimate, personal media of prints and drawings, the exhibition explores the vital nature of works on paper during this pivotal era in the history of European art. Etching and lithography are well represented among the printmaking processes, while charcoal and graphite figure prominently among the media in the drawings on view. The processes of etching, drypoint, monotype, lithography, and woodcut provided the framework for a flowering of printmaking in France in the second half of the nineteenth century. Etching dominated in the earlier part of the period while lithography surged in its later years. At the same time, mediums such as ink, charcoal, conté  crayon, pencil, pastel, watercolor, and gouache gave the means to sketch out ideas, record scenes, or create finished works. Each of these processes and mediums appealed to Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists for artistic reasons that had to do with historical precedents, avant-garde attraction, or technical capacity to suggest a visual message. These works also documented in a refined way the social and cultural infrastructures that engaged these artists' thinking and looking.

The exhibition, accompanied by a complimentary catalogue, is organized by Patricia Phagan, the Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings. It will travel to the Sioux City Art center in the fall, on view from October 13 to December 9. The exhibition benefits from the generous support of the Friends of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917
Mary Cassatt at the Louvre:
The Paintings Gallery , 1879-1880
Etching and acquatint
12 x 5
Purchase, Matthew Vassar Fund, 1963.2.2

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