The Print in the Western World is a comprehensive history of the print from its origins in the fifteenth through the late twentieth century. A source of inspiration to many great painters, such as Titian, Rembrandt, and Manet, printmaking has established its own criteria of aesthetic excellence as well as its own expressive language, both of which are explored here. Scholars and print collectors will find in this well-written and generously illustrated book a valuable reference, students a lucid survey, and art lovers an informative introduction to the history of the print in Europe and America.
More than 700 illustrations, forty-nine of them in color, show the evolution of the relief, intaglio, planographic, and stencil processes through the centuries. Giving detailed treatment to the work of five master printmakers—Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, and Jasper Johns—the book also discusses in depth numerous other artists, such as Martin Schongauer, Andrea Mantegna, Hendrik Goltzius, Jacques Callot, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, William Hogarth, Honoré Daumier, Edouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Edvard Munch, Käthe Kollwitz, Max Ernst, and Andy Warhol. Although its primary focus is the fine-art original print, The Print in the Western World also addresses in detail the reproductive tradition in printmaking that reached its peak in the eighteenth century and touches on book illustrations, posters, political satires, and vernacular prints such as chromolithographs.
Author Linda C. Hults emphasizes the meaning and historical context of prints, the consequences of the print'saccessibility to many strata of society, and the relationship among artist, context, subject matter, and technique. The volume includes a glossary of basic printmaking terms, as well as full bibliographies at the end of each chapter, giving readers access to a wide range of recent scholarship on prints.
While teaching the history of the print, Hults felt constrained by the lack of a scholarly chronological introduction to the matter. Her solution: the creation of this well-organized, exhaustively researched volume, which may well become a bible in its field. Her subject isn't limited to technical aspects of printed media (woodcuts, etching, engraving, drypoint, aqua- and mezzotints, lithographs, silk-screens, etc.). She also examines the cultural and economic forces behind each medium as it developed, the personal goals of individual artists and cultural events influencing their times. From Christian souvenirs at early pilgrim sites to Communist agitprop; from prints made for renaissance patrons to mass editions marketed to the middle and lower classes of the industrial age, Hults treats (and illustrates) them all. The book is meticulously annotated and indexed and incorporates commentary from other art historians. Female artists and writers are also given their due. Beyond the overwhelming scholarship, this is a work to be read. Hults's prose has a clarity, rhythm and range of shading that complement the prints she describes. This could ultimately be its greatest blessing for readers in the subject. (June)