May 25–September 12, 2006
Along its path to becoming a modern democratic nation, nineteenth-century France experienced a number of political and cultural upheavals. As communication, transportation, and technology progressed, artists changed their approach to accommodate the rapidly changing modern lifestyle that side-stepped the conservative government-sponsored Salons. Artists enjoyed greater artistic freedom with the emergence of avant-garde exhibitions and private galleries. Unlike painting, printmaking thrived upon new advances in technology and modern commerce. Prints were an affordable and sophisticated form of art that was accessible to the growing bourgeois class, a new class of art-buying patrons eager to prove their importance in the burgeoning art market. Artists enjoyed the income and fame that print editions brought them, and nearly all experimented in the graphic arts. Drawn primarily from the permanent collection, Géricault to Toulouse-Lautrec: Nineteenth-Century French Prints surveys this explosion of printmaking activity, beginning with the work of Romantic artists Géricault and Delacroix, through Barbizon artists such as Corot and Millet, to the modern innovations of Toulouse-Lautrec. The exhibition presents a host of themes, styles, and techniques that characterize the trends of nineteenth-century printmaking in France.
The exhibition is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and curated by Brooke Mulvaney, curatorial assistant of prints, drawings and photographs.
Edouard Manet (French, 1832-1883), Fleur Exotique (La femme à la mantille) (Exotic Flower [Woman in a Mantilla]), 1869. From Sonnets et eaux-fortes; text by Philippe Burty Etching and aquatint printed in brown ink. Maurice and Esther Leah Ritz Collection M2004.242