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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
603.646.2808
hood.museum@dartmouth.edu

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Recent Acquisitions 10

Louis Marin Bonnet, French, 1736-1793, after Anthony van Dyck, Flemish, 1599-1641
Samson Taken by the Philistines in Delilah’s House (Samson pris par les Philistins, chez Dalila), 1767
Chalk manner etching and engraving printed in black and white inks on blue paper
Image: 11 x 13 1/4 in.; sheet: 13 7/8 x 16 1/4 in.
Purchased through the Adelbert Ames Jr. 1919 Fund; 2008.94.1

Great experimentation took place in printmaking in France in the eighteenth century. New tools and techniques were developed in response to a heightened interest in collecting of drawings and watercolors, which created a demand for new types of prints. The old line systems that had served to translate painting were inadequate to replicate chalk, pastel, and wash. Stipple tools and roulettes (a metal wheel covered with sharp points) were used in combination with engraved line and etching in a new, direct technique known as chalk manner.

This composition, once attributed to Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), represents the climactic point when the strength of the Old Testament hero has been shorn away and he has been awakened by Delilah’s cry, “The Philistines are upon thee, Samson“ (Judges 16:20). He is taken captive before he is able to leave her bed. The erotic essence of the situation is emphasized by the partial nudity of the two protagonists. The eerie light of torches and mysterious shadows emphasize the point that the betrayal takes place in the dark of night.

Attempts to imitate two-color chalk drawings on colored papers-by printing from two plates in black and white inks on blue paper-were unsuccessful because the lead white ink then available discolored after exposure to light. Bonnet, however, succeeded in developing a stable white ink in 1764. The brilliant white and rich black provide a strikingly effective contrast to the fresh color of the unfaded blue paper.

Laurent Schkolnyk, French, born 1953
The Bottle of Bordeaux (La Bouteille de Bordeaux), about 2006
Mezzotint
Image: 6 15/16 x 9 3/8 in.; sheet: 13 1/8 x 17 3/4 in. (irreg.)
Purchased through the Adelbert Ames Jr. 1919 Fund; 2008.94.2

 

Albrecht Durer, German, 1471-1528
The Circumcision, from The Life of the Virgin series, about 1504-5
Woodcut
Image: 11 9/16 x 8 1/4 in.; sheet: 12 x 8 3/4 in. (slightly irreg.)
Purchased through the Jean and Adolph Weil Jr. 1935 Fund, through gifts from Jane and W. David Dance, Class of 1940, the Cremer Foundation in memory of J. Theodor Cremer, and through the Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund; 2008.95

In 1593-94 Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558-1617), one of the most influential artists in the history of printmaking, engraved a set of six large scenes titled The Early Life of the Virgin. From the outset, the prints were regarded as models of several different styles: those of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Raphael (1483-1520), Titian (c. 1490-1576), Lucas van Leyden (1489/94-1533), Jacopo Bassano (c. 1510-1592), and Federico Barocci (c. 1535-1612). Goltzius creatively borrowed recognizable elements from older paintings or prints and rearranged them to make entirely new compositions of his own, which he engraved in a manner associated with each artist. The series helped to establish his reputation as a versatile artist and became known as his Master Prints—in echo of the fame of three famous engravings by his great predecessor Albrecht Dürer. Efforts such as these to surpass the achievements of previous generations of printmakers marked Goltzius’s work for the rest of his career.

In the case of the Circumcision, Goltzius came so close in appearance to a work by Dürer that—according to Karel van Mander (1548-1606)—it was mistaken for an authentic print by the Renaissance master. The Hood also recently acquired the original composition by Dürer, a renowned German artist active in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, which was one of twenty woodcuts depicting the Life of the Virgin based on St. Luke’s Gospel and the apocryphal writings. The series was considered Dürer’s most accomplished set of prints executed from 1500 to 1505.

Goltzius modeled the overall composition, several figures, and myriad details after Dürer’s earlier print, but he also introduced a number of unique features that would have been recognized by some of his contemporaries. Most importantly, the setting was transformed from an ideal image of the Temple in Jerusalem to an accurate rendering of the Brewers’ Chapel in the church of St. Bavo in Haarlem, and he added a self-portrait in the background. As Van Mander noted in his biography of the Dutch artist in 1604, “These [prints] prove that Goltzius was a rare Proteus or Vertumnus, who could assume all possible guises in his art and can recreate in all possible styles.”

 

Karl L. H. Muller, American, 1820-1887
“Century” vase, about 1876-77
Porcelain, with bisque and glazed surfaces
Height: 12 5/8 in.; diameter lip: 7 1/8 in.; width: 9 3/4 in.
Purchased through the Katharine T. and Merrill G. Beede 1929 Fund; 2008.96

This is a reduction of one of the pair of monumental “Century” vases that the Union Porcelain Works produced in 1876 to commemorate the nation’s one hundredth anniversary. The firm displayed the larger, more lavishly decorated vases (collection of The Brooklyn Museum, New York, and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia) at their booth at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876. Although the urn-like form of the “Century” vase derives roughly from classical prototypes, its ornamentation features national symbols, including bison heads that serve as handles, profiles of George Washington that adorn each side, and a bas-relief frieze of six historical scenes that encircles the base, including William Penn meeting with Native Americans, the Boston Tea Party, and Francis Marion feasting the British officer on sweet potatoes. Such imagery reveals an emerging national iconography and a self-conscious awareness of defining events in America’s young history. Within a year following the positive reception of their famed “Century” vases, the firm started to produce a small number of commemorative reductions, about half of which, including this example, were not decorated and were probably intended for a more middle class audience. About fourteen such reductions have been recorded.

 

Arthur Wesley Dow, American, 1857-1922
The Dory, or Near the Wharf (medium blue boat), about 1893-95
Color woodcut on Japan paper
Image: 4 15/16 x 2 ¼ in.; sheet: 6 3/16 x 3 ½ in.
Purchased through the Katharine T. and Merrill G. Beede 1929 Fund; 2008.97.1

Arthur Wesley Dow, American, 1857-1922
The Dory, or Near the Wharf (light blue boat), about 1893-95
Color woodcut on Japan paper
Image: 4 15/16 x 2 1/4 in.; sheet: 5 x 2 3/8 in.
Purchased through the Katharine T. and Merrill G. Beede 1929 Fund; 2008.97.2

Arthur Wesley Dow, American, 1857-1922
The Dory, or Near the Wharf (yellow boat), about 1893-95
Color woodcut on Japan paper
Image: 4 15/16 x 2 1/4 in. (only top portion of block inked); sheet: 6 1/8 x 3 7/16 in.
Purchased through the Katharine T. and Merrill G. Beede 1929 Fund; 2008.97.3

Arthur Wesley Dow, American, 1857-1922
The Dory, or Near the Wharf (dark blue boat), about 1893-95
Color woodcut on Japan paper
Image and sheet (image irregularly trimmed): 3 7/8 x 1 13/16 in.
Purchased through the Katharine T. and Merrill G. Beede 1929 Fund; 2008.97.4

These four differently inked impressions of the same woodblock print reveal key aesthetic concerns of Arthur Wesley Dow, a pivotally influential artist, teacher, and writer who blended Western modernist and traditional Japanese approaches to design with an Arts and Crafts reverence for hand labor. Dow typically printed from multiple pine blocks that he carved himself—one block for each color—to create semi-abstract landscapes compressed into a narrow, vertical format reminiscent of Japanese pillar prints. His arrangement of discrete, stylized shapes inked in contrasting colors gives the works a flat, decorative effect that breaks from conventional attempts to represent three-dimensional form. These four variously colored impressions convey different moods and suggest the changing effects of light and weather on a single scene. Taken together they also reveal the artist’s intensive exploration of color for its own sake. As Dow wrote in 1896, his experimentation with color “lends itself readily to a suggestive rendering of effects in nature; a twilight, moonlight, sun and shadow, rain, gray days and morning mists, but as easily permits a departure into a purely imaginative treatment as brilliant and unreal as stained glass.” Dow almost certainly based this composition on a scene along the Ipswich River, where he created many of his prints, photographs, and paintings.

Last Updated: 11/23/09