Work of the Fellows: Edited Volumes;

The “Writing” of Modern Life: The Etching Revival in France, Britain, and the U.S., 1850-1940

Helsinger, Elizabeth K. (Fellow, 1997-98; Fellow, 2007-08)

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, distributed for the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, 2022

From the publisher's description:

What is it about etching that renders it—according to both the poet-critic Charles Baudelaire and the visionary artist Samuel Palmer—a medium of writing? And, moreover, what makes etching equally adaptable to the expression of both memory and modernity? The “Writing” of Modern Life examines British, French, and American artists who from the polemical beginnings of the Etching Revival in the 1850s to its twentieth-century afterlife practiced etching as a form of quasi-literary authorship. Whether or not these printmakers viewed etching as a medium for expressing thoughts or personality, as Baudelaire and Palmer claimed, they did find in the craft a way to suggest both elegiac recollection and the visual strangeness of modern life.


Subjects: Art;; Art History; Etchings; Printmaking