Harmony in Print: J.A.M. Whistler Etchings and Lithographs from the UWM Art Collection
Though best known for his paintings, American artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was also a prolific etcher and lithographer. Presenting Whistler prints from the UWM Art Collection, Harmony in Print traces the artist’s printmaking career beginning with his naturalistic etchings from the late 1850s through to his inventive lithographs of the 1890s. Whistler’s novel approaches were, in part, a response to the explosion of commercial printmaking that arose with industrialization. In attempts to revive the artistic tradition of the original print, artists turned to etching and lithography as media for formal experimentation and creation as opposed to mere reproduction. By making fine prints more accessible to the public, artists educated a class of burgeoning art collectors and began altering perceptions of printmaking. By contextualizing Whistler’s prints using examples by his contemporaries from the UWMAC, this exhibition highlights the artist’s experimental techniques, innovative style, and significant role in the revival of printmaking.