ISBN: 9780853318200 • Publication: June 28, 2001
The Unfinished Print
Peter Parshall, Stacey Sell, and Judith Brodie
DescriptionWhen does a work of art achieve aesthetic resolution? Artists, collectors, and theorists since the Renaissance have been intrigued by this question in their attempt to understand the artistic endeavour. Prints claim a special place in this history. The Unfinished Print investigates the changing taste for prints that reveal the traces of their making, a subject never before considered across its full historical sweep, from the fifteenth to the early twentieth century. An artist working on a print will usually take 'proof impressions' to check the progress of the plate, allowing us to trace the rethinking that attends the making of any work of art. Yet, unlike other media, proofs establish an exact record of discrete stages in the history of an image. Amplified by experiments with variant states and impressions, printmakers generated a creative interest in process and stages of completion, a phenomenon with complex implications for the history of art.
Locating the issue of finish in printmaking within a broad intellectual and cultural context, this book examines the evolving concern with artistic process and aesthetic self-sufficiency in the work of Rembrandt, the rococo taste for proof states in the wake of Watteau, the fractured architectural visions of Piranesi, the romantic fascination with the artistic fragment, and the complex investigations of technical experiment that dominated printmaking in late-nineteenth century Paris.