During a recent trip to Boston I was lucky enough to catch two wonderful exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts: Cafe and Cabaret: Toulouse-Latrec’s Paris (through August 8, 2010) and Albrecht Durer: Virtuoso Printmaker (through July 3, 2010). The two artists are amnong my favorite printmakers and the works and impression on display in both exhibtions were uniformly wonderful. The Durer exhibition presented numerous quality impressions of Durer’s most famous works in all media, but the highights of the exhibtion for me were the opportunity to look at a number of Durer’s experiments in etching and the presence of two of his drypoints including the masterful St. Jerome. Seeing the more experimental etching and drypoints in the context of Durer’s masterly use of the engraving and woodcut media, gave one an appreciation for Durer’s artistic mind. In particular,I welcomed the opportunity to see Durer struggle with etching in works such as the Angel with the Sudarium and, perhaps more successfully if less metaphorically, in the Landscape with the Cannon.
The Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition was also interesting, combining a number of works by the title artist with those of his contemporaries. Having seen the impression held at the Baltimore Museum, it was a real treat to see no fewer than 3 impressions of the Loie Fuller lithograph. Other highlights by Lautrec included the Englishman at the Moulin Rouge and Aristide Bruant in his Cabaret, while works by his contemporaries completed an interesting exhibition which both captured the spirit of the Paris of the day and emphasized the unique nature of Toulouse-Lautrec’s vision and technique.