CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

In the footsteps of masters: the evolution of the reproductive print

Exhibition: 23 January - 23 May 2010

From the museum website, 10 March 2010

Organized by the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA), the exhibition In the Footsteps of Masters: The Evolution of the Reproductive Print examines the role of printmaking in the development of visual culture. The show is curated by Nathan Popp, a University of Iowa curatorial graduate assistant to UIMA Chief Curator Kathy Edwards.

The exhibition covers a span of 500 years, featuring approximately 80 European and American reproductive prints from the 15th to the 20th century. On view will be original prints by artists Albrecht Dürer, Jusepe De Ribera, Edouard Manet, Jean-Baptiste Corot, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, William Blake, Francisco Goya and Grant Wood, as well as reproductive prints made by engravers after the works of famous masters such as Raphael, Peter Paul Rubens, Annibale Caracci, Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer, Jan Van Eyck, Titian, Michelangelo and others.

During the Renaissance, printmakers created woodcuts, engravings and etchings after notable paintings. With the advantage of being mass-produced and easily distributed, these prints allowed artists to engage with each other and exchange ideas. This propagated individual artists’ fame, facilitated art education and initiated technical advancement.

As the status of the printmaker as an independent artist grew, reproductive printmaking allowed for artistic expression. Artists began altering compositions or creating prints after their own works. In the Footsteps of Masters will provide a visual display that demonstrates artistic developments like these in the print medium.

After the 2008 flood left the UIMA without a permanent building, the Figge offered storage and gallery space for UIMA-organized exhibitions like In the Footsteps of Masters.

“This exhibit could not have been possible without the generosity of our friends and donors,” Popp said. “The 2008 flood had a drastic impact on the Museum and has slowed our methods but not our mission. I’m sincerely grateful for the Figge’s support, and I am continuously inspired by the sense of community that has made my exhibition a reality.”