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Félix Bracquemond: Impressionist Innovator – Selections from the Frank Raysor Collection

Printmaker and designer Félix Bracquemond produced more than eight hundred etchings during a prolific career that spanned the late 19th century, a period of dynamic technical innovations in the medium. A champion of the etching revival in France, Bracquemond created a vast and richly varied body of work that helped redefine etching as a highly original art form. This exhibition reintroduces Félix Bracquemond as an independent-minded, industrious artist through a selection of more than eighty works on paper and tableware objects, including his most imaginative and groundbreaking reinterpretations of French art and decorative arts traditions.

The first section presents his early works and illuminates his relationships with avant-garde artists, critics, and publishers. Forming a virtual aviary, the second section interprets Bracquemond’s distinctive images of birds—namely ducks and other domestic fowl—revealing his deep appreciation of nature and growing interest in Japanese visual tradition. The final section demonstrates Bracquemond’s enduring commitment to reproductive etching, even as he engaged in aesthetic experimentations that promoted a taste for Japanese art and culture in France. Displays of dinner services designed by Bracquemond punctuate the exhibition, disclosing the unexpected but vital role of his printmaking in ceramics production.

Exhibition Reviewed for Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide by Eric Denker, Senior Lecturer
National Gallery of Art, Autumn 2015:
Relevant research areas: North America, 19th Century, 20th Century, Etching