Eye Candy for Today: Francis Seymour Hayden etching

The Lovers Walk, No 1, Francis Seymour Hayden, etching and drypoint
The Lovers Walk, No 1, Francis Seymour Hayden, etching and drypoint

The Lovers’ Walk, No. 1, Francis Seymour Hayden, etching and drypoint, roughly 9 x 13″ (23 x34 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, look for both download and zoom links under the image.

This deceptively simple etching by the British painter and printmaker (active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) uses sweeping, seemingly casual lines to create texture — and, in effect, color — in a composition that invites you to step into the image. Notice the small, delicately suggested figures to the right of the first grouping of trees (images above, second from bottom).

 
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Some early work by M.C. Escher

Some early work by M.C. Escher
Some early work by M.C. Escher

Many people are aware of the graphic work of Dutch printmaker M.C. Escher that bends logic and presents mind-boggling visions of impossible worlds and structures. Fewer have seen many of his earlier works, that are much more straightforward and “possible” (if sometimes fanciful).

Here are a few examples.

For more images and info, see my previous posts on M.C. Escher.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Whistler etching, Fumette

Fumette, etching whistler
Fumette, etching whistler (details)

Fumette, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, etching, roughly 6 x 4″ (16 x 11 cm)

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project, original of this version of the print is in the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery.

You can see other versions of the print in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

In this portrayal of his mistress Heloise — who was known as “Fumette” because of her temper — Whistler has brought his considerable etching skills to a study of value contrasts, darks against lights and lights against darks in her clothing and in the framing of her face by her dark hair.

I particularly love how loose and casual his hatching appears in the lower areas of the skirt.

Whistler created a number of etchings of Fumette, some of which you can also see on the site of the Freer Gallery.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Max Klinger’s At the Gate

At the Gate (Am Thor), Max Klinger; etching and engraving
At the Gate (Am Thor), Max Klinger; etching and engraving (details)

At the Gate (Am Thor), Max Klinger; etching and engraving; roughy 18 x 12″ (45 x 31 cm). Link is to the impression the collection of the National Gallery, DC, whih has both a downloadable and zoomable version of the image (and no longer requires an account to download high-res images). There is also a zoomable version on the Google Art Project.

Max Klinger was a German Symbolist artist active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though he was also a painter, Klinger was known primarily for his graphics in the form of etchings, drypoint, aquatint and engraving — sometimes combining multiple techniques in a single plate, as he did here.

This print is from a series titled A Love, Opus X, which he dedicated to Arnold Böcklin, a Swiss Symbolist by whom he was greatly influenced — to the point of doing a beautiful etching version of Böcklin’s famous painting Isle of the Dead.

 
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Oscar Droege

Oscar Droege, color woodblock prints
Oscar Droege, color woodblock prints

Color woodblock prints don’t get as much attention in Europe and the U.S. as they do in Japan, but there are adherents of the art who produce beautiful work.

Oscar Droege was a German printmaker and painter active in the early to mid 20th century. His prints are largely of landscapes, but also include ships, houses and other subjects.

His use of color is subtle, atmospheric and invites a contemplative appreciation of his work.

In contrast to many of the color woodblock print artists of 19th and 20th century Japan, a number of European and American artists working in the medium, including Droege, largely eschew the use of outline in favor of defining subjects directly as shapes of color.

[Via GurneyJourney]

 
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Eye Candy for Today: M.C. Escher lithograph: Reptiles

M.C. Escher, Reptiles, lithograph
M.C. Escher, Reptiles, lithograph (details)

Reptiles, Maurits Cornelis Escher, lithograph, roughly 13 x 15 inches (33 × 38 cm)

Link is to an image sourced from this article on the website of WBUR radio, reviewing a 2018 Escher exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Here, we find the ingenious Dutch printmaker M.C. Escher indulging in a number of his favored themes: tessellated patterns, the relationship between the a two dimensional surface and three dimensional space, a shift between the graphic and the “real”, circular visual logic, geometric solids, and keenly observed still life subjects that may hold symbolic meaning.

This is one of my favorite Escher compositions; it plays with the very nature of illusionistic art — the representation of a three dimensional world on a two dimensional surface.

I see a potential play on words in the title, Reptiles. (Whether this translates into Dutch, or whether Escher spoke English, I don’t know.) The reptiles are represented as elements in a tessellation — as flat, interlocking patterns on the drawing surface. The repeated elements in a tessellated surface are called “tiles”. If you want to carry it further, “Rep” can be short for “repeated”. But then, I’m just projecting into Escher’s work, as its enigmatic nature makes it fun to do.

Also, I love the snort of smoke from the lizard on top of the dodecahedron.

For more, see my previous posts on M.C. Escher.

 
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