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New York

The Morgan Library & Museum

Exhibition Detail
Medium as Muse: Woodcuts and the Modern Book
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
New York, NY 10016

February 21st, 2014 - May 11th, 2014
February 21st, 2014 10:30 AM - 9:00 PM
From Monday or Tuesday by Virginia Woolf (Richmond: The Hogarth Press), Vanessa BellVanessa Bell,
From Monday or Tuesday by Virginia Woolf (Richmond: The Hogarth Press),
1921, woodcut
© Courtesy of The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York
(212) 685-0008
Tue-Thu 10:30-5 p.m. Fri 10:30 -9; Sat 10-6; Sun 11-6

The art and craft of the woodcut was a source of inspiration for a small, influential group of European and American artists whose work helped shape the modern book in the decades immediately preceding and following the turn of the twentieth century. Though stylistically diverse, the creative expressions by wood engravers during this period—sometimes referred to as the woodcut revival—drew attention to the medium's decorative and typographic qualities, its associations with religious, primitive, and popular imagery, and potential for narrative through the invention of the wordless novel in woodcuts. What began as a response to nineteenth-century technologies that had changed the nature of illustration and printed matter became a platform for shaping a visual vernacular of modernity that redirected the course of the modern book. Works on view, drawn from the Morgan's collections, survey illustrated publications from 1890 to 1935, contextualizing them within their idealized past—in touchstones of medieval and Renaissance book design—and mapping potential trajectories in experimental animation, the fine press, and works by graphic artists today.

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