Edited by Florian Rodari
Thanks to the diligent efforts of a number of private collectors who over time have assembled the works of various master printmakers – and to the passion of contemporary artists centred on the Atleier de Saint-Prex – this collection of plates covers the history of printmaking, from fifteenth-century woodcuts to the wider-ranging works of our own age. Instead of taking a chronological approach, the book explores the many striking affinities between early masters and modern or contemporary artists. Hence, a glass plate etched by Pierre Schopfer (b. 1943) flanks a Corot landscape, and an engraving by Albert-Edgard Yersin (1905–84) vies with the earlier masterpieces of Albrecht Dürer, Célestin Nanteuil, and Claude Mellan. Similarly, views by Gérard de Palézieux jostle with works by Canaletto and Claude Lorrain, and the sharp lines of Urs Graf are juxtaposed with an etching by Jacques Callot (1592–1635), while the lithographs of Edmond Quinche (b. 1942) recall works by Daumier (1808–79), with hints of Toulouse-Lautrec. Elsewhere, one notes the debt of Pietro Sarto (b. 1930) to Gautier-D’Agoty (1718–85) and Goya. Here too you will find the sublime brilliance of Rembrandt etchings, Piranesi’s inventions, and a Picasso copper-plate. Importantly, the aim of this assemblage of masterpieces is not to rank the works or pit one against another, but to illustrate the challenges of composition and technical ambitions that echo from work to work, transcending the limits of time.
Florian Rodari has studied both literature and the history of art. After seven years in the Cabinet des Estampes in Geneva, he was director of Musée de l’Élysée in Lausanne from 1979 to 1983. As an independent curator, he now organizes regular exhibitions for museums in Switzerland and abroad. He is the author of several publications, including Claude Mellan. L’écriture de la méthode (5 Continents Editions, 2015).