The Printed Line – An Arts Council Collection Touring exhibition

The Printed Line opened at Burton at Bideford on January 11, showcasing work by artists including David Hockney, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Bridget Riley, Patrick Caulfield and Frank Stella.

The Printed Lineshowcases the work of nearly 60 artists who have used a variety of printmaking techniques to exploit the potential of the printed line, from the thick velvety line of drypoint and the heavy cross-hatching of etching to delicate wood engraving and boldly coloured screenprints. The use of colour will be explored in screenprints by Bridget Riley and Kenneth Martin, as well as Simon Patterson’s witty lithograph, which reworks the lines of the London tube map.

The exhibition features a number of celebrated artists, spanning the 20th century to the present day, including: Walter Sickert’s masterly cross-hatched etching The Old Middlesex (c.1910), Ben Nicholson’s rich drypoint Halse Town 1949 (1949), a bold etching by Eduardo Chillida and David Hockney’s pared-down linear etchings.  

Included in this exhibition is Henri Matisse’s Le Grand Bois, the largest and most important of four woodcuts which he made in 1906-07 and was one of the three Fauve woodcuts shown at Matisse’s second solo exhibition in 1906. The Vollard Suite one of Pablo Picasso’smost important series of prints. It comprises 100 works produced between 1930 and 1937 at a critical time in Picasso’s career, and also when he was involved in a passionate affair with his muse and model Marie-Thérèse Walter, whose classical features are a recurrent presence in the series. Included in this exhibition is the drypoint Two Women Resting; the classical linearity and repose in this work alternate with the darker, more violent prints in the series.

All the prints in this exhibition are from the Arts Council Collection, which is the largest loan collection of modern and contemporary British art and includes fine examples of work by all of this country’s most prominent artists.

Jill Constantine, Director of the Arts Council Collection said: “The Arts Council Collection has an outstanding collection of prints which encompasses work by a number of international artists. Sometimes seen as a ‘lesser’ art form, this exhibition shows how wrong that assumption is and what an important part of many artist’s practice printmaking remains.”

Ian Danby, Director or the Burton at Bideford said: “We are excited to be showing The Printed Line – the Arts Council Collection it is an exciting collection featuring internationally renowned artists, many working in print. This will be the first time such a show has come to North Devon (Bideford / The Burton) with artists such as Picasso, Matisse and David Hockney.  Alongside this we have put together a range of workshops allowing you to become hands on with a range of opportunities to get creative for the New Year”

The exhibition will be on display until March 1, 2020.