Art for the Asking: 60 Years of the Graphic Arts Loan Collection

Printmaking in the 18th and 19th Centuries

The 18th century saw a flourishing of visual satire across Britain and Spain. Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) and William Hogarth (1697-1764), among others, used printmaking to disseminate political and social commentary. Meanwhile, in Japan, artists moved away from a predominate Chinese influence and founded a genre of art called ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”). Ukiyo-e artists used woodblock prints to capture ordinary landscapes and the everyday life of commoners, actors, and courtesans. The most famous Japanese master of woodcut, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), produced about 35,000 drawings and prints.

The development of the lithographic process marked a turning point in the production and distribution of prints in the 19th century, especially in France. Lithography allowed satirists like Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) to quickly comment on the day’s political events, and artists from the Impressionist movement experimented endlessly with the tones and textures they could achieve on the stone.

Daumier, Honoré
La Dame qui Cultive les Arts (The Lady who Devotes Herself to the Arts)
Heath, Henry
To Be or Not to Be, That Is the Question
Ura Fuji (The Other Side of Fuji)
Lorrain, Claude
No. 36