In its bicentennial year, Frankfurt’s Städel Museum was presenting prints by the English painter, engraver and etcher William Hogarth (1697‒1764). With his famous tragicomic visual narratives such as “A Harlot’s Progress” (1732), “A Rake’s Progress” (1735) and “Marriage à la Mode” (1745), Hogarth founded a new genre he called “modern moral subjects”. In them he combined the critical portrayal of real conditions with the classical narrative of history painting. With keen powers of perception and caustic humour, he responded to the vices and downsides of life in the London metropolis. He conceived of his artworks as printed theatre of his times and with them he laid the cornerstone for socio-critical caricature in England.
The Städel Department of Prints and Drawings has in its possession a superb group of works by Hogarth, including—in their entirety—all of the series that earned him international fame. Staged in the exhibition gallery of the Department of Prints and Drawings within the framework of the Städel’s bicentennial celebrations, the show has presented some seventy choice prints by the artist from the museum’s own holdings.
Curator: Annett Gerlach (Städel Museum)