Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • An Educated Taste: Nineteenth-Century Etchings and Drypoints from the Howard E. Crawford Collection
  • 06-May-1973 - 27-May-1973
  • University of Kansas Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas

The nineteenth century was a period of remarkable artistic innovation and lively revivalism in both America and Europe. The period saw, among other things, a fresh enthusiasm for print-making in general and etching in particular. Some artists, like Charles Meryon, concentrated their efforts on etching; other artists, like the painters Mary Cassatt, Jean Francois Millet, and James Whistler, also found that etching offered unique expressive potential. This etching revival spread throughout
Europe and America and became a dominant concern among many graphic artists between 1850 and 1900. Etchings demand sensitive connoisseurship and an
educated taste, for the medium is a delicate one and its effects are subtle. At first glance, the visual repertoire of the etcher seems limited to lines on paper; but gradations in the width and heaviness of these lines can express a variety of effects. By the addition of drypoint, which produces a velvety line, the artist can create atmospheric accents. He can also vary the color of paper and ink to imply tone or texture. In addition to these variations, the etching's appearance can change with the different states or editions of the print. Even within a given state or edition, the effect may change with the quantity of ink on the plate.
The refinements of the medium are seen in the collection of nineteenth-century prints given to the Museum of Art in honor of Howard E. Crawford by his friends. Mr. Crawford graduated from the University of Kansas in 1927 and has been an active alumnus ever since. A life member of the Alumni Association and an Endowment
Association Trustee, he became Vice President of the Eastern Division of the Alumni Association in 1968. In his capacity as Vice President and Director of the Marketing Staff of General Motors Corporation, he has taken personal interest in General Motors scholars at the University of Kansas. He is also a senior member of the Business School Advisory Board. In appreciation of his loyal support of his alma mater, the Alumni Association awarded Mr. Crawford the University of Kansas Distinguished Service Citation in 1971.