Call for Papers | Association of Print Scholars at CAA 2017, New York

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 16, 2016

Collaborative Printmaking across Cultures and Time
Association of Print Scholars Session at CAA, New York, 15–18 February 2017

Chair: Jasper van Putten, Harvard University

Proposals due by 31 March 2016

Printmaking, from its earliest to its most recent expressions, has generally been characterized by collaboration. This panel explores the impact of collaboration on the artistic practice of printmaking across various cultures and times. In the West, renaissance printmaking was characterized by divisions of labor that designated specific tasks of professionals. Designers, woodcutters, engravers, printers, and publishers indicated their respective role on the prints they helped produce with designations such as invenit [invented], delineavit [traced/delineated], or excudit [printed/published]. The production of Japanese woodcuts in the nineteenth century was similarly defined by collaboration and specialization. Generally, publishers commissioned drawings from artists, which were transferred to wood, cut, and printed by specialized craftsmen on behalf of the publisher. Collaboration also characterized much of the printmaking in the modern period, despite the emphasis on artistic individuality in this time. Artists like Édouard Manet, Pablo Picasso, and Robert Rauschenberg produced some of their most celebrated prints in collaboration with master printmakers. More recently, digital social networks have opened up completely new venues for artistic collaboration. As technology has made sharing of images and ideas faster and easier than ever before, it stands to reason that artistic collaboration also changes.

Scholars have studied the more famous collaborations in the history of printmaking in great detail. Still, the impact of collaboration on artistic practice is often overlooked. Blockbuster shows especially tend to focus on famous artists and neglect the vital contributions of other individuals. How did the contributions of craftsmen, patrons, publishers, and agents impact the prints they helped produce and disseminate? How was their relative input valued and remunerated? To what extent can we interpret prints as the products of networks of different makers? Answers to such questions will differ from time to time and from place to place. This panel seeks to further our understanding of collaborative printmaking by seeking submissions engaging these issues from any culture and era. Side-by-side, these papers will highlight commonalities and differences with the aim to obtain unexpected insights. Especially welcome are contributions that make use of network theory to account for the total range of actors involved in collaborations. Also of special interest are papers that engage the role of digital tools and social networks in facilitating collaborations in contemporary printmaking.

Please send an abstract of 250 words or less and a CV to Jasper van Putten (jaspervputten@me.com) and info@printscholars.org by March 31, 2016.

Exhibition | Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Posted in exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on March 16, 2016

From The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts:

Giovanni Battista Piranesi: Artworks from Russian and Foreign Collections
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 20 September — 12 November 2016

19967_mainfoto1_03The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is planning to host a major exhibition dedicated to the art of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), an Italian engraver, architect, researcher, decorator, and collector of Ancient Roman objects. The display will include more than 100 etchings by Piranesi, engravings and drawings by his predecessors and followers, plaster casts, medals, books, models from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the Cini Foundation (Venice), the Schusev State Museum of Architecture,  the Russian Academy of Fine Arts Museum, and other collections based in Russia and Western Europe.

The works of the predecessors and the followers of the Italian master will help visitors get a better understanding of how Piranesi’s artistic personality was formed, how his art influenced the following generations of artists and of the role of his legacy in Russia. Piranesi’s art inspired the architects of Catherine II’s court—Giacomo Quarenghi, Charles Cameron, Vincenzo Brenna; as well as masters of Russian Avant-garde—Ivan Leonidov, Konstantin Melnikov, Yakov Chernikhov. This art still continues to impress its admirers with its sophistication: a contemporary Russian artist Valeriy Koshlyakov will display an artwork he has created exclusively for this exhibition.

Exhibition | Idea of the Perfect Painter

Posted in exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on March 16, 2016


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From The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Art:

The Idea of the Perfect Painter: Russian Academic Model
Engraving and Books for Artists from the 18th Century

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 20 February — 22 May 2016

The exhibition Idea of the Perfect Painter will help visitors extend their knowledge on the learning methods of the Russian academic school of the 18th century. It is no coincidence that the display is located in the Olympic hall, surrounded by plaster casts similar to those, which could be found in studios. Plaster casts constituted the second step of artistic education, while the first one was dedicated to engraved ‘models’. The exhibition will showcase drawings, engravings, and prints dating from the end of the 18th century, as well as the first European art-related manuals and books. The display will feature original works by Georg Friedrich Schmidt (1712–1775) and sheets by his scholars—Alexey Grekov, Prokofy Artemyev, and others.

Exhibition | The Empress and the Gardener

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Caitlin Smits on March 16, 2016

Press release from Hampton Court:

The Empress and the Gardener
Hampton Court Palace, London, 28 April — 4 September 2016

Curated by Sebastian Edwards

Psyers-Privy-Garden-FI-500x281A remarkable collection of watercolour paintings and drawings once owned by the Empress Catherine the Great of Russia will go on show at Hampton Court Palace this spring, as part of the nationwide commemorations marking the 300th anniversary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s birth. Never displayed before, the exhibition of almost 60 intricately detailed views of the palace, park and gardens vividly captures Hampton Court during the time when Capability Brown served there as Chief Gardener to King George III. The intriguing history of this collection, which lay forgotten in the stores of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia for over two centuries, will be explored in The Empress and the Gardener.

Arguably Britain’s most famous landscape gardener, Capability Brown served as Chief Gardener to King George III at Hampton Court Palace from 1764 to 1783. The job came with a handsome salary and residence at the palace, but Brown, who famously transformed landscapes across the country, actually did very little to change the palace’s Baroque formal gardens, choosing instead to preserve them out of respect for his predecessors. Nevertheless, by the time he moved into royal service, he was already operating a busy landscaping business, and winning international acclaim as one of the most famous proponents of the ‘English Style’ of landscape design.

Famously a voracious consumer of foreign culture, Catherine the Great was a great admirer of all things English, declaring to the philosopher Voltaire that “Anglo-mania rules my plantmania.” She built herself an ‘English Palace’ and ‘English Park’ at her palace at Peterhof, with the help of British designers but was unable to find a Capability Brown of her own. Seizing a lucrative opportunity, a figure in the shadows, John Spyers, assistant to Brown, sold two albums of his detailed drawings from Brown’s home and workplace, Hampton Court Palace, to the Empress for the huge sum of 1,000 roubles.

Quite how Spyers managed to achieve this extraordinary coup remains a mystery, but ironically the Empress found herself the possessor of an album of drawings of a palace landscape which Brown himself had barely touched. The albums, which alone had cost Catherine a tenth the price of creating her new gardens, disappeared in her collection at the Hermitage (now the State Hermitage Museum) and lay forgotten for over two centuries before being rediscovered by Hermitage curator Mikhail Dedinkin in 2002.

Today, the Spyers views are a unique survival: the richest and most revealing record of how Hampton Court gardens looked when Brown was in charge. Together they are considered one of the most complete visual records of any historic landscape ever captured before the dawn of photography. From rare glimpses of the ordinary people who lived in or visited the palace and its gardens, to evocative details of Hampton Court’s celebrated courtyards, passageways and picturesque corners, they explore an almost-forgotten period in the palace’s history in vivid detail.

The Empress and the Gardener will see these rare works go on public display for the first time, in the very setting that inspired their creation. The exhibition will also feature contemporary portraits of Capability Brown and the Empress Catherine, previously unseen drawings of Catherine’s ‘English Palace’ in the grounds of Peterhof near St. Petersburg and several pieces of the famous ‘Green Frog’ dinner service, a triumph of British design created for the Empress by Wedgwood, featuring images of some of the celebrated landscapes where Brown worked across England.

Sebastian Edwards, exhibition curator, said, “We are thrilled to be able to present this remarkable window into a forgotten Georgian era in the palace’s past, in the year when garden lovers up and down the country are celebrating the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown’s birth. We hope that after enjoying The Empress and the Gardener our visitors will follow in John Spyers’s footsteps, out into Hampton Court’s magnificent gardens and discover how they have changed over the centuries.”

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From Artbooks.com:

Mikhail Dedinkin and David Jacques, The Hampton Court Albums of Catherine the Great, (London: Fontanka 2016), 160 pages, ISBN: 978-1906257224, £32 / $45.


This album publishes, for the very first time, 100 hitherto unknown watercolours/drawings of Capability Brown’s designs for Hampton Court Palace gardens. These were purchased by Empress Catherine the Great of Russia through her own gardener James Meader, a disciple of Capability Brown, and then forgotten in the Hermitage stores. John Spyers, the artist to whom the albums have been attributed by Hermitage curator Mikhail Dedinkin, was Brown’s surveyor. Catherine the Great paid the huge sum of 1,000 roubles for them in the early 1780s and they were clearly bought as Capability Brown drawings. Almost no other visual material about Hampton Court and its gardens and park at the period when Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was the resident Royal Gardener has survived, so the importance of these views, which have never been published or on exhibition before, cannot be overstated.


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