4th Friday in September is an opportunity for the public to visit the Dürer to Picasso printmaking, an exhibit that runs until Sept. 30. Rosenthal Gallery, on the campus of Fayetteville State University, is extending its gallery hours for the public to view Dürer to Picasso, a printmaking exhibit from the Ackland Art Museum’s print collection in Chapel Hill, North Carolina during September’s 4th Friday evening.
From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., on September 22, Rosenthal Gallery will remain open and free to the public to see thirty-six original prints by the most recognized European artists from the late fifteenth to the early twentieth century.
Original works by Albrecht Dürer, Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya, William Blake, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Käthe Kollwitz, Salvador Dali and Vincent van Gogh, among others, demonstrate the power of the print media to document events, spread ideas,and influence public opinion.
An additional viewing time and a lecture have been scheduled for the public on Saturday, Sept. 30, the last day of the exhibit. The gallery will be open between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the lecture will take place between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the gallery.
Professor Soni Martin’s presentation references the artists in the exhibit, their influences and little-known facts about how the artists pushed the boundaries of their artistic expression in innovative ways.
Printmaking, the process of reproducing the same image from a matrix (metal, stone, wood, and other materials), allows artists to create hundreds, if not thousands, of reproductions of the same image.
Considered collectible fine art, each work printed from the same matrix is considered a limited edition original. Due to printing multiples of an image, the medium is valued by artists as a way to share their work with a much larger audience, including international audiences.
Valued by the public, prints are an affordable way to collect the work of an artist or invest in original art and encourage the broad dissemination of knowledge, spread an artist’s expressive vision, and document works in other media like painting and sculpture for a wide public.
In the centuries before photography, prints then became some of the most effective conveyors of contemporary ideas, knowledge and art.
The exhibit was installed chronologically by decade. The gallery begins with Andrea Mantegna, an early Renaissance artist from the 1400s. The last print hanging sequentially in the gallery is by Salvadore Dali, a surrealist artist in the modern period.
Entering the gallery, visitors will have to stop to look at the draftsmanship of Hendrick Goltzius, a Dutch artist who lived between 1558 and 1617. Influenced by printmakers Lucas van Leyden and the well-known Albrecht Dürer, Goltzius takes the art of cross-hatching with a line to a heightened level of describing volume when representing the figure.
In the engraving titled The Followers of Cadmus Devoured by a Dragon, 1588, the details of the line work swell and taper around the figures and in the background to create incredible volume and fullness. Goltzius's subjects and handling of the figure are moving us away from the conceptual period of the Renaissance towards the drama of the Baroque period.
There are several overarching themes when looking at the works from the Renaissance, Baroque to the Romantic period compared to the modern prints.
Artists like Albrecht Dürer to Rembrandt focus on the effects of light on a subject and in the pictorial space, whereas modern artists from the post-Impressionists to mid-modernism focused on the expressive quality of the mark to evoke emotion instead of describing the figure.
Seeing the small black and white etching by Van Gogh titled Portrait of Doctor Gachet, from 1890, is very different than seeing his colorful paintings. Yet we get to experience the artist's hand in mark-making, how he expresses a type of shorthand in the line quality to evoke meaning in a portrait of his doctor created only six weeks before his death.
Due to postmodern sensibilities, many of the early works are more conceptual than emotional but important to see as a way to understand the evolution of European culture. Yet, there are many works in the exhibit, especially from the Romantic period, that easily move you emotionally.
For example, Käthe Kollwitz used the print medium as a powerful instrument of political loyalty to her anti-war and anti-violence position in the early years of the 1900s.
Her large etching titled The Battlefield, from 1907, depicts a mother searching for her dead son in the soft light of a lantern among a field of corpses. The genius of Kollwitz is to portray the rawness and brutality of the aftermath of a war battle and personal loss, instead of depicting the chaos and numbing of the actual battle taking place.
Kollwitz is one of only two women in the exhibit. The other woman in the exhibit is Mary Cassatt, an American who lived from 1844 to 1926. She lived her adult life in Paris as an artist among the post-Impressionists.
One of Cassatt's contributions to the history of art is her preoccupation with a genre that had not been investigated by a woman artist: the private space of women, telling the story of motherhood, women and children living and growing together.
Like several other post-Impressionists, Cassatt was influenced by the ukiyo-e style of the Japanese print. Another artistic contribution was interpreting her subject(s) only using flat planes of flat color, bright hues, asymmetric compositions, drastic foreshortening, decorative patterns, fine lines and simplified figures.
Visitors to the exhibit will find information panels next to each work. Visitors should plan on taking the time to read each brief panel since they contextualize the artist in their period and share the story about their subject and its relevance in history.
FSU Professor Dwight Smith coordinated with the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the exhibit to come to FSU and would like to acknowledge Dana Cowen, Sheldon Peck Curator for European and American Art before 1950, for curating this exceptional exhibit to share with the Fayetteville area.
“This collaboration underscores the importance of fostering cultural exchange and enriching the artistic experiences between universities and agencies,” Smith said.
Rosenthal Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information or if groups would like to schedule a time to come to Rosenthal Gallery, please contact Professor Dwight Smith at email@example.com or call 910-672-1795.