A Magnificent Obsession: Selections from the Hamilton Armstrong Collection of Prints
August 15 – November 10, 2016
In the early 19th century, printmaking was used very few artists as an original art form. The reproductive qualities of printmaking, that is the ability to make many hundreds or thousands of similar images in a quick and inexpensive manner, had trumped the more intimate and handmade qualities that attracted Rembrandt and his contemporaries. Not until the emergence of William Blake, Corot, Goya, Charles Meryon, and others, did an etching revival take place and other artists began to actively investigate the unique qualities of the hand printed image.
We are fortunate that Hamilton Armstrong also appreciated these distinctive characteristics and amassed a very interesting collection of Charles Meryon etchings.
A French artist championed by the great writers Victor Hugo and Charles Baudelaire. Meryon (1821-1868) had produced a series of etchings that depicted a changing Parisian landscape and, in turn, captured the imagination of a number of English and American printmakers who appreciated his accurate renderings of urban scenes. Even Whistler was compared to Meryon when the American ex-patriot finished his ‘Thames Set’ of London urban scenes in 1861.
Hamilton Armstrong delighted in the extraordinary scenes that Meryon created and over the years acquired architectural etchings by John Taylor Arms, Samuel Chamberlain, and Henry Rushbury…other artists inspired by the 19th century master.