The Rise and Fall of the Fine Art Print in Eighteenth-Century France
Sanctioned by France’s Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and struck primarily in order to disseminate the works of the Academy’s members, the eighteenth-century fine art print flourished only briefly. Yet it set into motion the interdependence of graphic and pictorial media.
In The Rise and Fall of the Fine Art Print in Eighteenth-Century France, W. McAllister Johnson distills a lifetime of research into an essential study of this seminal phenomenon and chronicles the issues, decisions, and practicalities inherent in making copperplate engravings as articles of art and commerce. His exceptional erudition makes this an unparalleled resource for the study of visual culture and of all aspects of printmaking before the French Revolution.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 472 pages
- Illustrations: 134
- Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.2in x 9.3in
Choice, vol 54:04:2016
‘This monograph is recommended highly for library collections in academic institutions and museums.’
The Art Libraries Society of North America Reviews January 2017
"This book’s clear style and helpful illustrations make it engaging for specialists and non-specialists alike…This book offers an insightful and valuable account of how the alphabet has been understood historically, from the Greeks to the present day, and in contrast to other writing systems."
Allison Morehead, Queen's University
University of Toronto Quarterly, vol 87 3, Summer 2018
"Professor Johnson has taken a much overlooked and underestimated arena of French visual culture and demystified it in an exhaustive but thoroughly fascinating treatise. Within this elegantly written but incredibly thorough text one learns how the Salons, the Academy, the vendors, collectors, and critics interacted with the artists and artisans in the early modern world. Suddenly, the eighteenth century is not so very remote."
Suzanne McCullagh, Anne Vogt Fuller, and Marion Titus Searle, Chair and Curator of Prints and Drawings, Art Institute of Chicago
"Printmaking in eighteenth-century France has received extensive attention over the past generation, but it has largely concerned those forms thought progressive, original, or simply attractive to the contemporary eye. This book explores what was in fact the principal and pervasive form: reproductive engraving. The most complete expression of Johnson's decades of research and rigorous method, it builds from exacting observations toward a structure that not only describes but resembles this kind of printmaking in its coherence, density, and societal implications. More than an essential study of a core matter of the period, this book is a fundamental contribution to the understanding of prints."
Jonathan Bober, Curator of Old Master Prints, National Gallery of Art
W. McAllister Johnson is a professor emeritus in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto. His most recent book is Versified Prints: A Literary and Cultural Phenomenon.
Table of contents
1. The Full Statement of the Question
2. Orienting Concepts
3. Prints as Information
4. The Fine Art Print Defined
5. Pendant Prints
6. The Académie as Catalyst and Regulator
7. The Académie and the Artist
8. Creative Issues
9. Response Time
10. Career Calculus
11. Reputation and Reflected Glory
12. Commercial Ploys and the Art of the Annonce
13. Prints and Paintings on Exhibition
14. Engraved, Not Engraved
15. Criticism, Controversy and Censure
16. Greuze Prints, including the Salon
17. The Clash of Genres
Appendix A: The Mercure’s Editorial Policy regarding Prints (1728)
Appendix B: Problems of Engraving and Collecting Prints (1754)
Appendix C: Wille’s Appreciation of Jean Daullé (1763)
Appendix D: An Oudry Portrait for the Book Trade (1767)
Appendix E: A Greuze ‘Lost to France’ multiplied by a Print (1767)
Appendix F: The Art Market : Paintings, Pendants and Petits Sujets (1780)
Subjects and Courses