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You are hereHarvey-LeeHomeHarvey-LeeCatalogues - Main Introduction Harvey-LeeGolden Decades


Golden Decades, Elizabeth Harvey-Lee1630-40;  1740-50;  1880-90;  1920-30
A miscellany from some of the richest periods of original printmaking

1630 - 1640’s

Though printmaking has a continuous history from the closing years of the 15th century, certain periods reflect increased activity and interest by artists. By the early decades of the 17th century painters had taken up etching as an original graphic art with enthusiasm in almost all the artistic centres of Europe. These are the decades when the young Rembrandt established his reputation and produced the masterpieces of his oeuvre in etching and drypoint.

In parallel a new breed of avid print collectors was seen in Holland, France, Italy, Germany and even England.

Some artists, such as Jacques Callot, devoted their whole careers to etching, others, such as Rubens and van Dyck were primarily painters, but also contributed important prints; yet others, such as Jan de Bisschop, were not even professional artists but felt constrained to master the new technique of etching.

Many themes were tackled, portraiture, animals, architecture, religion, genre; interpreted through observation of contemporary life or invested with poetic grandeur inspired by the antique.

1740 – 1750’s

In the 18th century, with a few exceptions mainly in Italy, interest in original etching as an art form declined. But in Venice and Rome three outstanding artists continued the tradition. Fantasy nurtured by classical studies inspired Tiepolo, Canaletto and Piranesi, each in a different and individual way.

1880 –1890’s

By the closing decades of the 19th century not only was the etching revival at its height but lithography had become recognised as an artist’s original medium. Enthusiasm for the design ideas of  the newly imported Japanese prints inspired printmakers in all techniques and engendered a new respect  for the expressive potential of the woodblock. Japanese prints also confirmed the significance of subjects drawn from contemporary everyday life.

La Belle Epoch, it was also a time when young women from all strata of society became a recurrent theme with some artists.

Paris was a magnet which drew an international group of artists to its academies and witnessed the first great ‘isms’ of the birth of modern art. Art journals such as the "Gazette des Beaux Arts" in Paris," The Studio" in London, "Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst" in Berlin and the publications of the "Gesellschaft für Vervielfältigende Kunst" in Vienna, all containing authentic impressions of artists’ original prints, spread artistic ideas and increased the market for prints.

Golden Decades, , Elizabeth Harvey-Lee1920 – 1930’s

The years of the Etching Boom and the subsequent crash witness the culmination of the etching tradition begun in the 17th century. The Great War halted the pioneering European modern movements ; many German Expressionists turned to New Realism, Picasso and Archipenko to classicism. It was the more traditional artists who were pre-eminent in etching, particularly as the 1920’s progressed.

An interesting school emerged in Czechoslovakia, but the period could be considered a dialogue between Britain and America. The Etching Clubs established in London, New York, Boston, Chicago, and the English publications "Print Collector’s Quarterly" and "Fine Prints of the Year" promoted native and adopted British artists such as Rushbury, Dodd, Brockhurst and Walcot, visitors from America such as John Taylor Arms and from Australia like Lionel Lindsay.

Wood engraving in Britain received a new impetus and status when the Society of Wood Engravers was founded in 1920 and the new medium of linocut put British printmaking in the 1930’s briefly into the avant-garde.

Published 1990
48 pages, 136 items described and illustrated (b/w)

(UK Price: £7, International orders: £10)

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Artists included in the catalogue:

  • Archipenko A.
  • Arms J.T.
  • Auriol G.
  • Bauer M.
  • Bawden E.
  • Bell R.A.
  • Bétout
  • Beurdeley J.
  • Bigot G.F.
  • Bisschop J. de
  • Bloemaert C.
  • Bol F.
  • Bosse A.
  • Brockhurst G.L.
  • Callot J.
  • Cameron D.Y.
  • Canaletto A.
  • Cantarini S.
  • Caspar K.
  • Dodd F.
  • Dyck A van
  • Fantin-Latour H.
  • Fridell A.
  • Gauguin P.
  • Gill E.
  • Goeneutte N.
  • Grossman R.
  • Guérard H.
  • Guerin C.
  • Harvey H.J.
  • Helleu P.
  • Hollar W.
  • Ibels H.G.
  • Jode P. de
  • Knopff F.
  • Lee S.
  • Legrand L.
  • Liebermann M.
  • Lindsay L.
  • Mackie C.H.
  • Menpes M.
  • Minartz T.
  • Morgan W.E.C.
  • Nauen H.
  • Nittis G. de
  • Orlik E.
  • Paneels W.
  • Peruzzini D.
  • Piranesi G.B
  • Platt C.A.
  • Power C.E.
  • Ranft R.
  • Rambousek J.
  • Ranson P.
  • Roussel T.C.
  • Ruisscher J.
  • Rushbury H.
  • Schinnerer A.
  • Schmidt-Rottluff K.
  • Schut C.
  • Shannon C.H.
  • Sparks N.
  • Steinlen T.A.
  • Sutherland G.
  • Sylvestre J.E.
  • Tanner R.
  • Taylor C.W.
  • Testa P.
  • Tiepolo G.B.
  • Tissot J.J.J.
  • Toulouse-Lautrec H.
  • Unold M.
  • Vallotton F.
  • Varga N.L.
  • Velde J. van de
  • Vliet J. van
  • Vogeler H.
  • Vondrous J.C.
  • Vorsterman L.
  • Walcot W.
  • Wall B.
  • Webb J.
  • West J.W.
  • Whistler J.M.
  • Wolff H.

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