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Fantasies and Fairy Tales

Fantasies and Fairy Tales explores the role of fantasy and the recurrence of popular fairy tales, myths, and legends in the graphic arts in the years around 1900, incorporating select earlier examples as well as more recent works. Artists pushed the limits of their imaginations for different purposes. Fantasy was used to examine individual emotional and mental states, to visualize spiritual transcendence, and as a springboard for aesthetic experimentation and abstraction. Fairy tales, a public and shared form of fantasy, offered artists familiar narratives and characters they could use to explore individual fears and desires or collective hopes and dreams. Some works in this exhibition evoke a sense of terror and dread, while others offer a romantic vision of an invented or idealized past or focus on the enchantment of the world around us. In all these works, artists present a particular way of seeing that exceeds naturalistic representation.

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