Rembrandt Etchings: States, Fakes and Restrikes
Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, known collectively as Rembrandt, is one of the most influential printmakers in art history. He created copper plate etchings that featured a wide range of subjects — from self-portraits to studies of street life. His etched prints showcase comedic expression and sober social commentary that have inspired innumerable printmakers for centuries.
Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center will display more than 40 of the master artist’s etchings during the free Rembrandt Etchings: States, Fakes and Restrikes exhibit from January 18th until March 1, with an opening-night reception on Friday, January 25, 6-8 p.m. Complimentary parking is available in the East Arizona Avenue parking lot off of Amelia Avenue and visitor parking spaces throughout campus.
The exhibition, which is on loan from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, examines the issues with authenticating Rembrandt’s etchings and how to determine if an etching is a forgery by showing how copper plate etching prints are created. The display also includes first-state pulls from the artist’s lifetime, restrike prints from the 17th to 20th centuries and fakes that are highlighted in red.
A first-state pull means that Rembrandt etched the copper plate and pulled it through the press and then onto the paper. Restrikes are etchings that were from Rembrandt’s original copper plate that he etched, but were pulled by someone else after his death. The fakes were created from a counterfeit plate and not Rembrandt’s copper plate etching.
Tonya Curran, director of the Hand Art Center, believes this exhibit may provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Rembrandt’s copper plate etchings.
“Rembrandt was an incredible printmaker who was using copper plate etching, which was a newer medium at the time,” said Curran. “This method of printmaking allowed a diversity of lines and greater depth of value. It differed from engraving in that it is a chemical process rather than a physical process. The acid in copper plate etching allowed more curvature in the lines and a softness not often seen in engravings.”
“The Rembrandt Etchings exhibit exposes students and the community to art history in the world and educates them about fakes,” said Curran. “Art has value, but you want to know what is original or counterfeit. This exhibit is very special because not everyone has an opportunity to see an original Rembrandt and it’s nice to have this prestigious display at the Hand Art Center on Stetson University’s historic campus in DeLand.”