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Posts Tagged ‘Illustration’

This post comes to us from Ronald Abbe, Museum Docent.

Jane Avril, 1895. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Color lithograph. Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece

Jane Avril, 1895. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Color lithograph. Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece

Toulouse Lautrec has come to the New Britain Museum of American Art. Is he an alien presence or a comfortable fit?  The answer is obvious when one views the connections between his art and the work that emulates it elsewhere in the Museum.

Lautrec was an innovator.  He tried to find a way to capture a moment in the most dramatic way possible.  His cropped compositions make his scenes seem to be glimpsed in passing.  The asymmetry of his arrangements and the daring exaggeration of figures and faces make his scenes come alive.  These effects were startling in the late l9th century but so were photography and the new printing process of lithography.  Quickly, the public found his poster lithographs exciting, and soon there was a craving in Paris for all things new.

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The Problem We All Live With, 1964. Norman Rockwell (1894-1978). Oil on canvas. The Norman Rockwell Museum of Stockbridge.

Illustration art has not  beeen consistently deemed a true art form in America.  There are a number of reasons that surface which create doubt in people’s minds about illustration’s status as “true art.”  For instance, illustrators must abide by the wants and needs of their clients and audiences, possibly restricting their own artistic freedom.  In addition, illustration is not usually viewed in its original form, as it is mass produced for publication use and sale.  The public does not see the illustrations in their original form.  Many believe that the increased availability of the produced prints devalue the original illustrations themselves.  There were thousands of original works destroyed by publishers due to lack of interest in the artwork after it had served its initial purpose.  There is something disquieting about handling illustrations in this way.  Due to the enthusiasm of many artists and educators today, illustration is increasingly recognized as a true art form. (more…)

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