The Hunter Museum is opening a new temporary exhibition, “Twenty Original American Etchings,” that will be on view now through this summer. This is the first time these etchings have been featured together, and includes works by several well-known artists such as Frederick Stuart Church and Thomas Moran.
The prints in this gallery are all part of a portfolio of etchings created in 1884 by the New York Etching Club. The formation of the club in 1877 represented an upsurge in interest in etching among American artists in the last quarter of the nineteenth 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 in order 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.