It was Dutch artist Rembrandt Van Rijns (1606-1669) desire to create work with far-reaching impact. Almost 400 years later some of Rembrandts etching masterpieces, including a self-portrait, are reaching visitors at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
AGGVs Winter is an Etching runs from Dec. 13, 2013 to May 19, 2014, and brings together the work of Rembrandt, his contemporaries and some of his printmaking heirs, including Adrian Van Ostade (Dutch 1610-1685), Edouard Manet (French 1832-1883) and Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867-1945), all from the collection of the Gallery.
During Rembrandts lifetime, it was his etchings, not his paintings, which were at the root of his international reputation, says Michelle Jacques, AGGV Chief Curator. Today, his canvases are more celebrated, but there is no doubt the expressive potential he found in the printed line is extraordinary, and has been inspirational to generations of artists.
Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all. These eighteen words represent the entirety of a poem written by American poet Stanley Horowitz and first published in Readers Digest in 1983. Horowitzs poem provides a fitting title for the exhibition, which focuses on seventeenth-century etchings and engravings by Rembrandt and his circle, as well as later works that share certain qualities with their Dutch precedents: expressive line, dramatic play of light and dark, and naturalistic observation of the figure.
The exhibition is presented in the AGGVs Drury Gallery, named for Kenneth Drury, the former publisher of the Victoria Times newspaper. When he endowed the space in 1970, the intention was that it would be used for the presentation of prints.