Past Exhibitions

Louis-Marin Bonnet after François Boucher, Tête de Flore (Head of Flora), 1769. Pastel manner engraving. Yale University Art Gallery, Everett V. Meeks, B.A. 1901, Fund

Colorful Impressions: The Printmaking Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France

  • January 29, 2008–May 4, 2008
Celebrating one of the most innovative periods in the history of color printmaking, this exhibition, organized by the National Gallery of Art, includes 95 images, many of which are presented in multiple impressions or alongside related drawings. During the second half of the 18th century in France, newly invented engraving and etching techniques were combined with new ways of printing a single image from multiple plates. For the first time, full-color prints could be created from four basic colors: red, yellow, blue, and black. Within just a few decades, thousands of images were produced, including some of the most complex and beautiful color prints ever made. Most of the works in Colorful Impressions reflect the carefree spirit of the ancien régime, an era of royal indulgence before the French Revolution in 1789. Compositions are by the most celebrated artists of the time, including François Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, Hubert Robert, and Jean-Antoine Watteau.
Exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Presentation at the Yale University Art Gallery organized by Suzanne Boorsch, the Robert L. Solley Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Yale University Art Gallery. Made possible by an endowment created with a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.