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Newly aquired book includes original Manet etching

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by Kelly Fields | Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Art & Architecture Library recently acquired an 1870 art classic book entitled Les Chats that features an original etching by the famous French artist Édouard Manet (1832-1883). Cynthia Haven, Associate Director of Communications wrote an article for The Dish on the recent acquisition.

There’s a new cat at the Art & Architecture Library in the Cummings Art Building – and it’s well over a hundred years old.

The 1869 cat is featured in an original etching by the famous French artist ÉDOUARD MANET (1832-1883). The feline is hidden away between the pages of a newly acquired book, the deluxe edition of an 1870 art classic called Les Chats, by JULES-FRANÇOIS-FÉLIX HUSSON, who used the pen name “Champfleury.” The etching is also an  “aquatint” that uses a powdered kind of resin (called rosin) to create a muted gray-blue background.  Manet made the plate by hand, etching fine lines with a needle.

“Le Chat et Les Fleurs” is described as one of Manet’s most subtle combinations of the complex and simple.  According to the late art historian Jean C. Harris, the etching shows the traces of Japanese influence, with its flatness of spatial arrangement and the “rather freely drawn and widely spaced strokes to describe the flowers,” which “help to animate the surface and to relieve the monotony of the uniform aquatinting.”

To read Cynthia's article in its entirety, see the August 29, 2012 edition of The Dish.

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