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The Other Impressionism. International prints from Manet to Whistler – Kupferstichkabinett | 25.09.2024-12.01.2025

Editors’ Choice

Sunrises, water lilies, light and shadow effects: Almost everyone has an idea of what constitutes an impressionist painting. But what most people don’t think about are works of printmaking – can there even be Impressionist art in this medium? In black and white, in an edition and with the technical challenges that make the spontaneity so characteristic of Impressionism seemingly impossible? In its exhibition, the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett is showing treasures of the “other” Impressionism, most of which have never or rarely been shown before – with 110 works by 40 artists, including Édouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, James Whistler and Lesser Ury.

Image above: Paul Signac, In Holland – Die Boje, 1894, Farblithographie copyright Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Dietmar Katz

Using new or rediscovered techniques, the “other” Impressionism brought atmospheric moods to paper: impressions of shadows, vapour and smog, haze and rain, night and electric light. As original prints, they had the magic and dynamism of hand drawings and were therefore regarded as the epitome of artistic individuality. Some of them were created directly in front of nature.

From the mid-1850s, artists such as Camille Corot and Charles-François Daubigny met in the forest of Fontainebleau. They experimented with the proto-photographic technique of cliché verre, using the sun itself to expose their hand-drawn glass plate negatives. From 1862 onwards, painters such as Édouard Manet, Johann Barthold Jongkind and Francis Seymour Haden were inspired by Rembrandt’s etchings and used them to create their own works. Some, such as Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas or later the Dutchman Charles Storm van’s Gravesande, reworked their printing plate after each printing process. This resulted in “state prints”, i.e. new originals within a series. From the 1880s onwards, lithographers such as Paul Signac and Eugène Carrière were fascinated by shadows, by immateriality, and created picturesque and mysterious impressions.


Jongkind, Abendsonne – Hafen von Avers, 1868, Radierung copyrights Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Dietmar Kat

Printed or exposed, black and white or in colour: the new prints paved the way for Impressionism in museums. In 1881, this international art was brought to Berlin’s museums for the first time with an exhibition of “etchings by French and English artists of the modern era”: An incredible 740 prints were presented at the time – all on loan – including some that can also be seen in the exhibition today, such as masterpieces by Édouard Manet, Charles-François Daubigny, Camille Corot, Francis Seymour Haden and James McNeill Whistler.

This was a revolution in seeing, a coup, as Impressionist art was by no means considered worthy of a museum at the time. With this exhibition, the public became enthusiastic about modernism, contemporary artists in Germany received new, international impulses and a new collection focus began at the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett with modern prints. At the time, the museum was able to purchase the 300 or so English etchings on loan directly from the exhibition; this was not possible for the French works, so the art market was subsequently monitored in search of other prints of these works.


Manet, Das Rennen, 1865, Lithographie copyrihts Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Volker-H. Schneider

The Berlin Kupferstichkabinett presents its selection of this “other”, printmaking Impressionism and shows rarely exhibited works by famous artists that were already on display in 1881, as well as new discoveries by previously unknown artists or Impressionist works that were only created after 1881: in addition to those already mentioned, these include works by Alfred Sisley, Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, Albert Besnard, Henri Fantin-Latour, Joseph Penne, Anders Zorn, Frank Brangwyn and Anna Duenswyn. In addition to the works by Alfred Sisley, Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, Albert Besnard, Henri Fantin-Latour, Joseph Pennell, Anders Zorn, Frank Brangwyn, Anna Duensing, Lovis Corinth, Max Liebermann and Max Slevogt.

Individual etchings by Rembrandt from the 17th century – the greatest painter etcher of Impressionist light and shadow effects before Impressionism – as well as photographs of Pictorialism accompany the selection and expand it. Between these two poles – Rembrandt and Pictorialist photography – the broad spectrum of Impressionist printmaking can be spread out.


Albert Besnard, Über der Asche, 1887, Radierung, Kaltnadel, Roulette copyrights Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett / Dietmar Katz

Seeing the world in an impressionistic way was therefore not just the finding of a stylistic epoch, nor was it a method limited to painting. Rather, it is a certain way of seeing. In the “other” Impressionism, this view of the world, this way of seeing, is taken at its word.

“The Other Impressionism. International Prints from Manet to Whistler” is curated by Anna Marie Pfäfflin, curator of 19th century art at the Kupferstichkabinett.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published by Michael Imhof Verlag.

Forward has established itself internationally as an important platform for the sector at locations in the DACH region (Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, Hamburg). Forward’s formula for success is that it comes from the industry and is authentic in its approach and content. The conference strikes the right note and sets important accents because its initiators, such as Forward founder and curator Othmar Handl, come from the creative industry themselves. The speakers follow this spirit and therefore contribute with personal stories about success and failure in the creative process, co-operation between disciplines and their view of the creative industries. These ingredients create a wonderful, special atmosphere that cannot be experienced at any other creative festival. Previous speakers at the festival include Yuko Shimizu, Malika Favre, Stefan Sagmeister, Jim Stoten, Eike König, Snask, Anna Ginsburg, Studio Dumbar/Dept©, Studio Feixen, Esra Gülmen, Simone Cihlar, Erik Kessels and many more.


Exhibition dates: Wednesday, 25 September 2024 – Sunday, 12 January 2025

Opening: Tuesday, 24 September 2024, 6 pm

Opening hours: Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.


Kulturforum, Museum of Prints and Drawings
10785 Berlin

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Thomas Hoepker 1936-2024