A collection of prints by 27 major figures of the art world – including Cézanne, Corot, Daumier, Goya, Lichtenstein, Manet and Miró – are on view at the Mandeville Gallery through Nov. 17.
“A World of Prints: Selections from the Union College Permanent Collection,” features a number of techniques including etching, engraving, lithography, screen printing and woodcuts. Many of the works were gifts to the College by alumni, including Union Life Trustee Arnold Burns ’50, and his wife, Felice, as well as by the Martin S. Ackerman Foundation.
The opening reception will take place on Thursday, Sept. 12, 5-6:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Nott Memorial. The event is free and open to the public.
“This is a great opportunity to see the breadth, depth and quality of our Permanent Collection,” said Julie Lohnes, curator of Union Art Collections and Exhibitions. “All of the artists in our exhibit were visionaries of their generations.”
Though the 30 art works span 500 years, they primarily embody two distinct eras: late 1700s-1800s and late 1960s-70s. Both groups represent printing processes popular during their time periods and demonstrate how each was innovative – indeed, groundbreaking – in method of production and subject matter.
“In both time periods, the artists were cutting edge,” said Lohnes. “They were bending and breaking the rules and conventions of the day.”
In the 1800s, sympathetic depictions of the working class were revolutionary. This is exemplified in one of the highlights of the show, Manet’s print of motherhood, La Petite Fille Tenant un Bébé, as well as in Millet’s image of a layperson at work in La Grande Bergère.
Progressive subjects at that time also included political unrest and modest landscapes, as in Goya’s Los Proverbios, which pictures crowds of spectators mesmerized by performers’ feats at a Spanish carnival.
Similarly, late 20the century prints demonstrated inventive formal twists, such as the combination of printmaking techniques found in Roy Lichtenstein’s integration of lithography and screen-printing in Mirror #7 of 1976, a Burns gift. Lichtenstein, a popular figure on the 1960s art scene along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and others, “dared to challenge contemporary conventions about what was deemed art by using reductive, minimal methods of application,” said Lohnes.
Mirror #7 is the newest piece in the show, along with another Burns print dating to 1976, David Hockney’s lithograph on paper, Friends.
“It’s especially interesting to look at the Burns pieces, a tight, wonderful collection amassed with a very specific focus on theme, time period and even the printer from which they were purchased,” Lohnes said.
The two oldest pieces on view are by Michael Wolgemut, a German painter and printmaker who was ran a workshop in Nuremberg and was a teacher of the great Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. Wolgemut’s Untitled, 1493, a hand-colored woodcut on paper, and Untitled (Folio CCLVII), 1493, woodcut on paper, are framed together.
Other artists featured in “A World of Prints” are: Josef Albers, Adriaen Collaert, Joe Goode, Robert Graham, Oskar Kokoschka, Lee Krasner, Jean-François Millet, Henry Moore, Francesco Piranesi, Ken Price, Joseph Raffael, Edward Ruscha, Frank Stella and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo.