This exhibition is intended to be like a music program that juxtaposes two of the greatest traditional composers with one of the most important of the moderns. In his day, the German painter Albrecht Dürer accomplished the astonishing feat of bringing both the woodcut and the engraving to a level of achievement that arguably has never been equaled. In a similar fashion, Rembrandt transformed etching, with its superior responsiveness to the artist’s hand, into a powerful expressive medium that effectively displaced engraving as the preferred technique for the printing of images. Finally, the printed work of Picasso is a repository of both traditional and modern techniques like etching, aquatint, lithography, and linocut in a way that reflects both the changing autobiographical nature of his art and his restless experimentation with new means of expression.
This exhibition contains approximately thirty works from a private collection promised to the Norton that have been selected for their historical importance and outstanding quality. Viewers will have the rare opportunity to see not only excellent examples from the history of printmaking but will also be able to observe the way in which three of the greatest Western artists brought their transformative skill to bear on the printed image.