San Francisco

“Prints by Barbican Masters”

Achenbach Foundation

Forty-eight prints drawn from the Foundation’s permanent collections, following up the exhibition of paintings by Barbizon artists held recently at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and pointing to the natural development of the great draftsmen into fine printmakers. These artists, who spawned Impressionism, experimented with various printmaking media in studying landscape structure, its lighting, and the figures that peopled it. Charcoal and pencil brought forth black-and-white pictures worthy of wide dissemination, leading to their use of etching, lithography, and a photo-technique called “cliche-verre” (scratching through an opaque ground laid on a glass plate, then printing on sensitized paper). Corot, in his search for a method of rendering shifting light and gauzy shadows, was especially successful with this latter process; some of his most delightful prints were created with it. Daubigny and Jacque also used it effectively for massing up shapes and shadows. But Millet’s monumental simplicity is never more satisfying than in his linear studies, whether with chalk or etching tool.

E. M. Polley