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Curator: Katherine Wodehouse, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Our third special exhibition of 2018 will showcase prints from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

When Claude Monet (1840–1926) entitled his 1873 painting Impression: Sunrise he unwittingly inspired the, initially derisory, title by which he and his fellow artists would henceforth be known. Renowned primarily as oil painters, the Impressionists are now celebrated for their ability to capture fleeting visual experiences with expressive brushwork and vivid colour.

Monet resisted print-making but Édouard Manet (1832–1883), Camille Pissarro (1830–1903), Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), Berthe Morisot (1841–1895), and Mary Cassatt (1844–1926), whose works feature in the exhibition, all created impressions of another sort. Their prints provide a fascinating corollary to their famous paintings. The Impressionists’ characteristic subjects; the modern life of the city, portraits, landscape, and weather are all represented in their prints which, like their paintings, exploit and cultivate innovatory techniques and aesthetic effects.

Making an Impression  not only explores this hidden aspect of the Impressionists’ achievement, but showcases the work of influential printmakers who exhibited with the Impressionists, including Félix Bracquemond (1833–1914), and those who succeeded them, such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901). These fascinating works are displayed in the context of the development of print-making techniques, and the blurring of the boundaries between prints and drawings.

The Ashmolean is home to the Pissarro Family Collection, the most significant Impressionist archive outside France. This has been recently supplemented by the Webb Bequests of 2000 and 2003. Many of the works are being exhibited for the first time.

Katherine Wodehouse is one of two Print Room Supervisors in the Ashmolean’s Western Art Department. Her primary area of research is British art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and she has curated previous exhibitions with Broadway Museum, including Skyscapes and F.L. Griggs: Visions of England.

Les Saules des Mottiaux (Willows of Mottiaux) by Félix Bracquemond, 1868, etching, overworked in brush grey wash, WA1967.62.11