The Blanton Museum of Art: Fantastically French! Design and Architecture in 16th- to 18th-Century Prints
The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin hosts Fantastically French! Design and Architecture in 16th- to 18th-Century Prints. The exhibit opens March 5, 2022 in the museum’s Paper Vault gallery. Beginning with early French etchings and engravings from the decorative program for the Palace of Fontainebleau, the exhibition spans three centuries of printmaking that established France as a center for style and design.
From arabesques to grotesques and from sphinxes to snails, French printmakers combined ancient decorative motifs with newly invented ones to create designs for everything from jewelry to architectural façades. Beginning in the mid-sixteenth century with ornamentation for the royal hunting lodge of Fontainebleau, through garden designs at the palace of Versailles, to patterns for eighteenth-century home furnishings, prints were important sites of invention and served as vehicles for the proliferation of decorative motifs across a variety of media. Drawing primarily from the Blanton’s extensive holdings of French prints, this exhibition invites visitors to look closely at exquisite details, marvel at fantastic forms, and take delight in ornate embellishments that celebrate the creativity of artistic imagination across three centuries. Curated by Holly Borham, Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings and European Art, Blanton Museum of Art.
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