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Limited Edition: Vollard, Petiet and Modern Master Prints

Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939) was an outstanding figure on the art market at the turn of the century. He distinguished himself by his audacity which made him support modern artists such as Cézanne, Gauguin or the young Picasso and Rouault. With this exhibition, the Petit Palais has chosen to focus on his major role in the specific field of print and illustrated book publishing. Beneficiary of numerous gifts and bequests from Vollard himself and his heirs, the Petit Palais will highlight this exceptional collection of prints, enriched by numerous loans from other institutions and collections.

Passionate about this publishing activity, Vollard invested the profits he made from the more lucrative trade of the paintings of the modern masters that he had under contract. He is involved in the choice of special papers, typographic research, printers, among other aspects of production of these works of great luxury. A particularly new chapter of the exhibition will focus on the activities of Henri Marie Petiet (1894-1980), the merchant who bought the Vollard gallery collection at the end of the war. He was also a discoverer of talents and a support for personalities as diverse as Jean-Émile Laboureur, André Dunoyer de Segonzac, Aristide Maillol and Marie Laurencin. The development of the central figure of Henri Marie Petiet benefits from recent research and discoveries that shed new light on the question of the French printmaking market in the 20th century.

The exhibition is designed to help people gain a better understanding of the techniques of printmaking
and publishing. It includes printmaking tools and a copper printing press on loan from the French national printing works (Imprimerie nationale), which will be activated during live demonstrations. Lastly, visitors can enjoy a lively guided tour of the exhibition by downloading the museum app, due to launch in tandem with the exhibition. The app, whose contents will also be available on the museum’s video guide, takes visitors through several key works and offers a glimpse of the unique and endearing personalities of Vollard and Petiet themselves through several anecdotes. There will also be a small area dedicated to creating a printed page with typeface and ornamental patterns.

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