For those interested in the history of printmaking the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam has an extrordinary colection of French prints from fin de siècle (end of the century; 1890-1905) on their website vangoghmuseum.nl. This remarkable collection is organized by technique, object type, artist, printer, publisher, and subject on the site.
A printer printing pictures of a printer printing prints.
Fin de siècle means end of the century in French and refers to the last ten years of the 19th century and the first few of the 20th. Fin de siècle is especially notable because around 1890, artists became more aware of printmaking as an art form in and of itself. The big names in modern art at the time (Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin and Steinlen), experimented with woodcuts, etching and lithography, and worked more closely than ever with their printers. These artists have their prints not only used as adverts for cafes and programs for theaters all over Paris as well as gallery shows and books.
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The collection consists of prints that are more than a hundred years old and every time they are shown in person the museum runs the risk of damaging the prints as they are light sensitive. Luckily for us, the museum chose to upload these prints and that allows for their display in a unique way. displayed as a patchwork of images. Every click changes the gallery order showcasing similarities between different works whether it be in style, subject, print technique or even printer.
Below I offer a small sample of this collection but be sure to view the whole gallery featured by The Van Gogh museum on www.vangoghmuseum.nl!
There are classics like this:
by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen – 1896
Lesser known works are also available for viewing on the site such as these:
by Eugène Carrière – 1895
The poor (Les pauvres) from the series Bruges mystique et sensuelle
by Georges de Feure – 1899
Tiger in the Jungle (Tigre dans les jungles)
by Paul Elie Ranson
“The Van Gogh Museum manages one of the world’s most important collections of French prints from the fin de siècle (1890-1905). The special collection is not often displayed in the museum galleries due to light sensitivity, so discover it online now.”- Source: the French print collection