"Light and Darkness in 19th Century French Prints: Meryon, Bresdin, Bracquemond, Redon" Exhibition

National Museum Of Western Art, Tokyo

poster for "Light and Darkness in 19th Century French Prints: Meryon, Bresdin, Bracquemond, Redon" Exhibition

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As the popularity of lithographs, primarily produced by Romantic painters, waned in France during the first half of the 19th century, gradually the outlook for the production of prints as art works darkened. Print publishers widely distributed lithographs as book figures and satirical prints, thanks to the medium’s ability to mass produce images cheaply, but they were loathe to create labor-intensive prints. On the other hand, this was also a period that saw demand from conservatives for prints that reproduced the oil paintings of the masters of the past. In the midst of these conflicting trends, Meryon and Bresdin explored the expressive potential of printing techniques, creating works with their own unique world view. This process was then picked up and continued by Bracquemond, Redon, and other painters of the day. The black seen in their etchings and lithographs seemed to reflect the dark depths of their era and the human heart, while the white of the paper ground shines through as expressions of light. This exhibition introduces 40 prints by these four 19th century French painters who sought original expression in the print medium. We hope that visitors to the exhibition will enjoy the rich expression they achieved in their monochrome realms created in ink and paper.

[Image: Charles Meryon, "Eaux-fortes sur Paris: Le Petit Pont" (1850) National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo]

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From 2010-09-18 To 2010-11-28

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