published Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Prized etchings on view at Hunter

“Rye Sussex, England” is an etching on Japan paper by Charles A. Platt.
“Rye Sussex, England” is an etching on Japan paper by Charles A. Platt.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A new temporary exhibition at the Hunter Museum of American Art brings together a collection of prints more than a century old.

"Twenty Original American Etchings," on view through summer, includes works by several well-known artists, such as Frederick Stuart Church and Thomas Moran. This exhibit is the first time these etching have been featured together.

The prints are all part of a portfolio of etchings created in 1884 by the New York Etching Club. According to Hunter officials, the formation of the club in 1877 represented an upsurge in interest in etching among American artists in the last quarter of the 19th century. Such portfolios allowed a wider audience to view fine prints in person.

The American etching revival, as it was called, reflected a change in the status of prints. Earlier in the century, etching was a technique used to reproduce an image or painting to disseminate it widely. Beginning in France in the 1840s, artists began to view etching as a legitimate artistic endeavor. The term "original" in the title of the portfolio emphasizes that these are artistic images, not prints in the service of commerce.

Also on view at the Hunter are "African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era and Beyond," organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, through May 25, and "Preface: An Introduction to Artists' Books," through June 15.

Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, noon-5 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $9.95 for adults, $4.95 for children 3-17 (free on first Sundays).

For more information, call 423-267-0968 or visit www.huntermuseum.org.

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