October 1, 2015 — January 10, 2016
The Lure of Old Master Print Series. Serial Thrillers highlights nine Old Master print sets, encompassing stories drawn from the Old Testament, Louis XV’s Versailles, and the storm-tossed voyages of Dutch sailing ships.
The exhibition honors Chief Curator Jeff Harrison, who recently retired after 33 years at the Chrysler. On his next-to-last day, he explained the rationale behind the exhibit this way: “From the beginning of my career at the Chrysler, I have looked to add Old Master prints—woodcuts, engravings, and etchings produced between the 15th and 18th centuries—to our European collection.
“Our great benefactor Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. was a brilliant collector of European painting and sculpture, but prints were of lesser importance to him.
They struck me, however, as an inspired and far less costly way to expand the imagery and themes of those other art forms.
“I have had the good luck to add important single print images to our collection, among them Albrecht Durer’s magisterial 1498 engraving ofThe Virgin and Child with the Monkey. But I have been more intrigued by print sets—multi-sheet series that, by virtue of their multiple parts, offer richer narrative possibilities and broader, more complex visions of time, movement, and space.
“Consider Andrea Andreani’s masterful nine-part woodcut series, The Triumph of Julius Caesar, in which a grand Roman imperial procession unfolds before the viewer as she walks along it from left and right. Or Durer’s Large Woodcut Passion, in which one of the central narratives of the Christian faith—the final sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ—is fully and richly recounted in a succession of 12 incomparable prints.”
These works were on view from Oct. 1, 2015, to Jan. 10, 2016.