Los Angeles

“Old Master Prints”

UCLA Art Galleries

This superb exhibition is composed of some fifty frames containing old-master engravings, etchings, and woodcuts from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The field of ornament prints is especially well documented, with superb examples by the Master of the Sforza Book of Hours (active 1485–1497) and Zoan Andrea (active 1475–1505), who separately and in collaboration produced some of the finest engraved ornament prints of all times, (Agostino Veneziano, Francois Boucher, and Jean Lepautre). Groups of prints by Rembrandt and Durer are exhibited, including the much sought “Melancholia” and “Nemesis” Durer engravings. Impressive single works include an early woodcut “Crucifixion” (French, 1460), and “Saint Veronica’s Veil” by Claude Mellen (French, 1598–1688)—an engraving tour de force in that the entire image is rendered with one continuous line, beginning at the nose. Gradations of light and dark are achieved by varying the thickness of the line.

Augmenting the hanging exhibition are two display cases containing prints, labels, and actual woodblocks and copper plates, explaining the intaglio and woodcut processes. The exhibition is small and intimate, the attitude scholarly, and the selection uncompromising. Each print is a choice item that would be admired and sought by the most discriminating collector.

Virginia Allen