Etching is a printmaking process rooted in line and tone that allows for seemingly endless variations of these two elements to create a wide range of visual effects and poetic moods. Consisting of works from the Lunder Collection, Intersecting Lines examines three artists—Rembrandt van Rijn, James McNeill Whistler, and Pablo Picasso—who were dedicated to exploring the full creative potential of etching as a form of artistic expression.
Rembrandt was one of the earliest artists to use etching as a means of artistic expression and certainly the most innovative. He popularized a loose and free style—akin to sketching—but his etchings were also meticulously constructed and often reworked over time. He utilized patterns of crisscrossing lines and experimented with various inking strategies to achieve rich atmospheric effects that allowed for softer, more diffuse gradations of light.
Rembrandt’s work also revealed insights into nature and humanity that, coupled with his technical achievements, established etching not only as a means to reproduce an image but also as a fine art in its own right. Etchers in Rembrandt’s wake have studied him and have sought to expand the foundations he established. Intersecting Lines looks at how Whistler and Picasso each made their mark in etching by following and building upon Rembrandt’s example.