With close to 200 individual pieces in the Museum’s latest Steele Gallery exhibition, PAPER!, you might think that everything related to paper had been covered and then some.
But as with all things paper-related, there’s more than you think.
As curators delved into the Museum’s collection of more than 17,000 works, they discovered pieces rarely exhibited due to their sensitivity to light exposure. Included in this was a large collection of intaglio prints.
Intaglio is a form of printmaking that involves cutting a design into a metal plate and impressing ink held in the cutout areas onto wet paper. Developed by goldsmiths in Europe in the early 15th century, the intaglio (in-TAHL-ee-oh) process allows artists to create delicate and precise images suggestive in their subtlety of original drawings. Variations of the process include etching, engraving, drypoint, aquatint and mezzotint. From detailed portraits to abstract compositions, every theme imaginable in art is found in intaglio.
The individual images present a vast array of subject matter and sizes, with some pieces the size of a postage stamp. With such a range in sizes and styles, viewing these detailed prints required a more intimate setting. “These images could easily have been lost in an exhibition as big as PAPER!,” says Jerry Smith, PhD, Curator of American and Western American Art. “These images are striking in their detail and intricacy. They needed a more intimate setting.” And with that, Intaglio!, a companion exhibition to PAPER! was born. The exhibition will be on view through September 23, 2012, in Lyon Gallery.
Visitors to Intaglio! will encounter wide and varied selection of printmaking, representing nearly seven centuries of art created around the world. Featured are works by some of the most recognizable names in art, including Dürer, Schongauer, Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso, Gillray, Cassatt and many more.
Left: Giovanni Battista Piranesi, The Well (plate XII from the series “Prisons”), c.1750, etching. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Shohet. Middle: John Taylor Arms, A Devil of Notre Dame, 1929, etching. Gift of Orme Lewis. Right: Walter E. Bohl, Camelback Mountain, not dated, etching. Bequest of Walter and Ann Bohl.