|The Childs Gallery Print Annual made its debut in 1976, and the founder of the gallery, Charles D. Childs, penned its first introductory remarks. It is a tradition I am delighted to continue with this, our 31st Print Annual, as I follow in the footsteps of the previous President, D. Roger Howlett, our new Senior Research Fellow. A perusal of those first annuals reveals fascinating insights into the history of the print department at Childs and print collecting in Boston. With the increased reliance on the internet for the sale of art, the electronic distribution of our print annual will have an even greater impact on print collecting in the 21st century.|
As stated in the 1976 annual, the focus of our comprehensive print offerings is still that of the “fine art” print, i.e. a print conceived, executed and often printed by the same person. Whistler defined the concept of the limited edition fine art print, and this annual offers remarkable examples of his work, as well as those of his contemporaries and within his circle. Works by Arms, Benson, Brouet, Cameron, Haden, Hassam, Menpes, Pennell, Roth, Ryder and Zorn abound. Our continued interest in American Modern prints can be seen through a wonderful selection of Bellows prints which formed part of our exhibition that ran concurrently with a similar one of Bellow’s drawings at the Boston Public Library. We also have many wonderful works by the 20th century New York School artists such as Avery, Bacon, Bishop, Brussel-Smith, Calapai, Eichenberg, Marsh, Miller, and Soyer, as well as examples by the American Regionalists Benton and Ward.
Old master prints have always been a core part of our print department since its founding, and we are delighted to continue in that tradition with renewed vigor. In particular, this Annual showcases examples of old master prints of a “reproductive” nature, i.e. prints designed and engraved after works by other artists. A recent exhibition titled the Paper Museum, referred to these works as a sort of “printed encyclopedia that could effectively copy-for documentary purposes- the visual appearance of a vast range of objects.” (Zorach/Rodini). In a sense, the advent of printing in the 15th century enabled the widespread distribution of printed images, much like the internet today. These prints of the Renaissance until the 1800s were responsible for the spread of the new ideas of the modern world, just as Google images and the internet do for our increasingly electronic world. Fine examples by Raimondi after Dürer, Scultori after Romano and Saenradam after Goltzius could very well have been included in that exhibition. Of course Callot, Piranesi and Rembrandt are featured as well. Notable in this tradition is Erik Desmazières, the contemporary French printmaker who is greatly inspired by this period.
As usual with our acquisitions, we are delighted to scour the capacious attics of New Englanders, and this year has uncovered some wonderful results. With the acquisition of the George Seybolt Collection, Childs Gallery now possesses one of the largest collections of printed portraiture, assembled by the president emeritus of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, one the great collectors in this genre. Indeed a consistent theme running through the Annual is that of the printed portrait, and there are wonderful, early examples of American and European portraiture. We invite your inquiries.
Richard J. Baiano, President