January 24 – July 27, 2003
In July 2002 the Blanton Museum of Art acquired the print collection of noted art historian and critic Leo Steinberg, adding 3,200 prints to the Blanton’s holdings and includes masterpieces by Marcantonio Raimondi, Albrecht Dürer, Parmigianino, Cornelis Cort, Hendrick Goltzius, Claude Lorrain, Rembrandt, and Francesco Piranesi, as well as William Blake, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, George Grosz, Jasper Johns, and many other artists both known and unknown to contemporary scholars. This exhibition marks the first time these works have been on view to the public. It is the first in a two-part series of exhibitions revealing the many strengths of this exceptional collection, believed by many to have been one of the last great collections of prints in private hands.
In each installment, the full breadth of the collection is demonstrated in works illustrating the history of prints and printmaking from the 16th through the 20th centuries. The frontispiece of Prints from the Leo Steinberg Collection, Part I, Marcantonio Raimondi’s so-called Stregozzo [The Witches’ Procession], is one of the largest and most intriguing engravings of the High Renaissance. Superb reproductive prints of the works of Michelangelo include Giorgio Ghisi’s first interpretations of figures from the Sistine Ceiling and Nicolas Beatrizet’s Annunciation after the master’s lost drawing. There are several exceptionally rare and fine etchings from the School of Fontainebleau, a stunning group of engravings by Hendrik Goltzius and his followers, and singular impressions of some of the major etchings of Italian Baroque. Grand-scale reproductive printmaking is represented at the beginning of the tradition by Hans Witdoeck’s engraving of Rubens’s Elevation of the Cross, and at the conclusion by Raphael Morghen’s Last Supper after Leonardo da Vinci. Part I concludes with some especially delicate French landscape etchings, Picasso’s Blind Minotaur from his Vollard Suite of 1933–34, and Jasper Johns’ Ale Cans, the lithograph created as the cover illustration of Steinberg’s seminal essay on the artist.