WATERCOLOURS, DRAWINGS AND PRINTS FROM THE COLLECTIONS OF THE HUNGARIAN NATIONAL GALLERY AND THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
Impressions on Paper, a companion to our temporary exhibit Monet, Gauguin, Szinyei Merse, Rippl-Rónai – Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterworks, presents several characteristic stages in the development of Impressionist drawing and beyond. We have selected works from the early 1820s to the early 20th century by Hungarian and European artists who shared similar artistic aims. Some of the most beautiful watercolours, charcoal and pencil drawings, etchings, and lithographs from the collections of prints and drawings of the Hungarian National Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest are on display. Visitors will find examples of English watercolours, Italian landscapes, scientific and artistic studies of clouds, depictions of the Barbizon landscape, genre paintings of modern city life, and the renewal of etchings.
We may think of Impressionism as primarily a movement in painting, but the genres of drawing and prints also owe much to Impressionist artists. The art of drawing had previously played a secondary role, as the medium for studies and sketches made in preparation for paintings. From the 1860s, as part of their refusal to conform with academic convention, the Impressionists embarked upon a bold venture of experimentation with different techniques. They were aided by the fact that all the tools required for drawing – paper, chalk, charcoal, ink, watercolour paints – were now readily available in a wide variety. In giving works produced on paper – including prints – the same rank as paintings, Impressionist artists “liberated” these genres from their supporting role, helping to establish the autonomy of the art of drawing.
At the same time, Impressionism owed a lot to drawing. At the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, artists began to use drawings, watercolours, sepias and others to analyse problems in, above all, landscape paintings. The need to capture the spectacle on site required new solutions and techniques on the part of the artist.
The exhibition catalogue is available in both Hungarian and English. The curators of the exhibition are art historians Eszter Földi and Orsolya Hessky.