This week we would like to share an artwork from our current exhibition Under the Spell of Hercules Segers: Rembrandt and the Moderns – Hercules Segers, Landscape with Fir Branch, c. 1625-30, etching, printed in black ink on light grey prepared canvas, worked up with two shades of blue and brown watercolour, state I (3), 146 x 205 mm, Amsterdam, The Rembrandt House Museum.
The seventeenth-century writer and artist Samuel van Hoogstraten wrote – quite interestingly – the following about Hercules Segers: ‘He also printed paintings.’ In other words, Segers’s etchings look just like paintings. It’s true that there are several painterly aspects in Segers’s graphic work. A nice example of this is the etching we can see above, Landscape with Fir Branch from circa 1625-30. This example was printed in black ink on fabric prepared with light grey paint. The print was then worked up with two shades of blue and brown watercolour, which makes it look – indeed like Van Hoogstraten wrote – just like a painting.
Segers made only a few prints of every etched plate, an average of just three impressions. Within such a small edition of a single print he also varied almost every impression: he chose different colours, supports and finish. This makes every print by Segers a unique one. This approach is almost diametrically opposed to the fundamental principle of printing: a method of reproduction, where multiple impressions of the same composition can be produced and sold.
With the exhibition Under the Spell of Hercules Segers: Rembrandt and the Moderns The Rembrandt House Museum focuses on Segers’s influence on Rembrandt and artists in his circle. The exhibition also highlights the role Segers played in the development of modern and contemporary graphic artists, such as Max Ernst, Nicolaes de Staël and Robert Zandvliet. The exhibition is on view until January 8th 2017. Click here for more information.