Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery explores 60 years of British printmaking

Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery is presenting a major exhibition exploring 60 years of British printmaking from the 1960s to the present day. Hockney to Himid: 60 Years of British Printmaking is the major autumn exhibition (November 13-April 24).
Kitaj RB: For Fear - 1964-7Kitaj RB: For Fear - 1964-7
Kitaj RB: For Fear - 1964-7

Spokeswoman Madeline Adeane said: “Drawing on the gallery’s remarkable collection of modern and contemporary prints, Hockney to Himid: 60 Years of British Printmaking will feature more than 100 prints by 90 artists, including Frank Auerbach, Gillian Ayres, Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, Elisabeth Frink, Anthea Hamilton, Richard Hamilton, Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Lubaina Himid, Anish Kapoor, Henry Moore, Chris Ofili, Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Graham Sutherland, Julian Trevelyan and Gillian Wearing.

“From the Pop artists of the swinging Sixties and abstract artists working in St Ives, to the Scottish contemporary art scene and the YBAs in the 2000s, the exhibition will celebrate a transformational period in British art through the medium of printmaking.

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“The wide-ranging number of artists, styles, techniques and subject matter, including etchings, wood engravings, lithographs and screenprints, presented in the exhibition will capture the extraordinary upsurge during this six decade period as artists expanded their practice to explore the creative possibilities of printmaking.

“From the 1960s to the present day, printmaking underwent a marked elevation in status and transition from specialist medium through to one widely adopted by some of the foremost names in contemporary art – including Tracey Emin whose polymer gravure etching Move (2016) will be on show, along with Chris Ofili’s lithograph Afro Harlem Muses (2005).

“From David Hockney’s early etching Kaisarion with All His Beauty, made while a student at the Royal College of Art in 1961, to Lubaina Himid’s poetic lithograph Birdsong Held Us Together, produced in response to the period of lockdown during 2020, the selection of prints on display will exemplify the changes in British art during this period. The exhibition will chart how Britain emerged from the postwar years in the early 1960s, navigated the social changes of the 1970s and 1980s, and saw the ascendency of contemporary British art from the 1990s to the present day.

“On display will be works by early printmaking pioneers including, Enid Marx, John Piper, Stanley William Hayter and Julian Trevelyan, who were part of a generation of artists who sought to raise the standard of printmaking to new heights and democratise art by placing prints in publicly accessible places, such as pubs and schools.

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“Their mantle was adopted by a new generation of artists entering art colleges in the late 1950s and 1960s, including David Hockney, and most notably Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton who sought to explore the connection between art, technology and popular culture.

“Paolozzi and Hamilton found a natural expression in printmaking, in particular screenprinting, due to its ability to unify often incongruent visual sources within a single work.

“This is exemplified by Paolozzi’s As is When suite of twelve screenprints from 1965, which will be represented in the exhibition by Experience (1965).

“The series is widely recognised as a landmark in the history of modern print-making and helped screenprinting gain acceptance as a fine art medium during a time when there was fierce debate over whether prints could be considered original artworks.

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“The exhibition will also explore print studios, including Curwen Studio and Kelpra Studio, both of which opened in London in the late 1950s, alongside Edinburgh Printmakers which opened in 1967.

It will also feature artworks produced at contemporary print studios working today, such as Counter Editions in Margate and Rabley Gallery, Marlborough. Significantly, for many artists included in the exhibition, creating prints involved working with skilled technicians at a print studio – a partnership that tested both the technical skills and creative imagination of the artist and the printer. Works on display that showcase this technical innovation and expertise will in-clude Richard Hamilton’s Adonis in Y-Fronts (1962-3). The work is the first print Hamilton made with the lead printmaker Chris Prater at Kelpra – it involved a complicated process of pho-to and hand-cut stencils along with Hamilton’s drawings on kodatrace.”