From 22 June to 10 September 2017, the Städel Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings will devote its exhibition hall to the diversity of nineteenth-century French lithography. The invention of this entirely new method of “stone printing” at the end of the eighteenth century ushered in a new era in the reproduction of images. In comparison to older printmaking methods, the range of expressive means offered by lithography was wider, the printing process faster, and the editions larger. In France, prominent artists began experimenting with the new technique around 1820, and over the course of the nineteenth century decisively expanded its artistic possibilities.
The spectrum of works on view includes eloquent compositions by Théodore Géricault, one of the rare lithographs Goya produced during the 1820s in exile in Bordeaux, Eugène Delacroix’s Goethe and Shakespeare illustrations and Honoré Daumier’s comments on politics and society in the form of newspaper caricatures. The show also features Édouard Manet’s virtuoso inventions, Symbolist works by Rodolphe Bresdin and Odilon Redon, and masterworks of colour lithography by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the “Nabis” Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard dating from the end of the nineteenth century. The works on display, numbering about ninety in all, represent highlights of this century and technique and provide insights into the superb holdings of the Städel’s Department of Prints and Drawings. Fifteen new acquisitions of the past years are also on exhibit.
Illustration: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, La Passagère du 54 – Promenade en yacht (Detail), 1896, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main