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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Springtime!

by Conservation


conservation , Spring , behind the scenes , paper conservation , works on paper , Daubigny , Charles François Daubigny


Charles François Daubigny’s Springtime, etching of a field of tall grass and a dense forest

Spring has not yet officially arrived, but you can see a glimpse of trees in full bloom inThe Etching Revival: From Daubigny to Twachtman.  Charles François Daubigny’s Springtime (Le Printemps), printed in 1857, is one of the earliest etchings in the exhibit.  The print is a copy of a painting, now in the Louvre Museum, that Daubigny exhibited the same year.  The artist printed the etching on a sheet of antique, handmade paper that was probably made before 1800 and appears to have been removed from a book.  James McNeill Whistler and Julian Alden Wier are two other artists included in The Etching Revival who printed on antique papers.  Artists valued these papers for their color and texture and were not bothered by evidence of age; Daubigny’s print has an old ink inscription on the back that is barely visible in the lower left margin.  Because of the quality of the old rag paper, this print required less intense conservation treatment than some of later etchings in the exhibit that were printed on new papers.


Image Credit: Charles François Daubigny (French, b.1817, d.1878), Springtime [Le Printemps], 1857, etching on antique laid paper, 7 15/16 x 11 15/16 in. (sheet) 1940.173