August 29 – December 30, 2001

Last fall, the Blanton initiated a series entitled 500 Years of Prints and Drawings, which features groups of exhibitions that highlight the Blanton’s encyclopedic collection of works on paper. With works of art representing the 15th through the 20th centuries, the series draws exclusively from the Museum’s own collection to present focused inquiries into artists, techniques, processes, or artistic trends particular to a period of time in the history of Western art. The first five of these focused explorations were:

From Idea to Object in Italian Renaissance Drawings

An intimate exhibition of twenty drawings, From Idea to Object allows visitors to explore how drawing developed into a system for conceiving and preparing works of art in 16th-century Italy. Drawings by the same artist at different stages offer insight into the principal stages and function of this system. A recently acquired model for an altarpiece by Bernardino Campi is among the works on display.

Rubens and His Engravers

The Blanton explores the significant work of the group of engravers employed by Peter Paul Rubens in the 17th–century, illuminating how the engravers fostered the distribution of Rubens’ work and brought reproductive printmaking to unprecedented heights. This exhibition includes the finest impressions of these large–scale, highly detailed works and includes prints by Bolswert, Pontius, Vorsterman, Lauwers, Van Sompel, and other major figures of the group.

Early Aquatint from Saint-Non to Goya

Through fifteen works, this focused exhibition illuminates the development of the aquatint technique, from its invention as a means of reproducing wash drawings, to its realization by Goya as an agent of distinctive expression. This exhibition provides a platform for exploring the late-18th-century evolution of aquatint into one of the most significant and lasting variations on the intaglio printmaking technique.

The Image of Nature in Nineteenth-Century French Prints

Featuring works by Corot, Daubigny, and other 19th-century French printmakers, this exhibition examines how artists responded to the explosion of industrialization and urbanization in 19th-century France. The prints in this exhibition demonstrate how nostalgia for a less complicated past fueled the rise of the landscape from a lesser category at the beginning of the century to the central artistic theme by its end, reflecting a desire to preserve, if not nature itself, at least its image.

The Image of the City in Interwar American Prints

Prints from the 1910s to 1930s highlight the shift in American printmaking from images of idyllic rural life and landscapes to the realities of the swiftly expanding city, its constantly changing skyline, and the new forces at work within it. The common man’s experience of the urban landscape is revealed in prints by artists such as George Bellows, Howard Cook, and Louis Lozowick.