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Visual Arts: Prints Abound

by Mar. 16, 2009, 12:36 PM

“The Madonna and Child and St. John” by an unknown artist

In 1956, Vanderbilt’s Permanent Collection was founded by a generous gift from renowned art collector Anna C. Hoyt of Boston. Hoyt, who had been a print curator at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, had a particularly fine eye for prints by the Old Masters. “They’re some of the better things we have in our print collection, as far as historic importance is concerned,” says Joseph Mella, director of the Fine Arts Gallery.

Since this gift, the collection has grown in number and depth to include more than 5,500 works of art. In honor of Hoyt’s founding patronage and its impact on the arts at Vanderbilt, while marking the last exhibition in the Old Gym before the gallery moves to the Cohen Memorial Building in the fall of 2009, Mella has assembled a survey drawn exclusively from her gift.

“Family Doctor” by American artist Grant Wood
“Family Doctor” by American artist Grant Wood

Highlights include a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer; Honoré Daumier’s lithograph from his series Les Beaux Jours (Life’s Great Moments)—a model study in 19th-century realism; a delicate lithograph portrait by Pablo Picasso completed in 1948; and a 17th-century woodcut by Dutch artist Christoffel Jegher based on a work by Peter Paul Rubens that is often considered one of the great prints in the history of the medium. Other works feature mezzotint, etching or wood-engraving processes.

The exhibition will run through May 8.