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July 27, 2019January 12, 2020

Moving Forward, Looking Back: Prints from the Anderson Graphic Arts Collection

For centuries, artists have copied the work of others as part of their professional training. In the traditional Academic system, artists were taught to copy earlier experts before ever gaining the freedom to invent a composition of their own. Only after successfully rendering copies—first of prints, later of plaster casts, live models, and finally of paintings—were they encouraged to develop compositions of their own. Even then, many sought out the examples of others, incorporating compositional elements that subscribe to established tropes of a particular subject. Over the past fifty years, many artists have developed new materials and syntax, yet the practice of looking back for inspiration, and occasionally to replicate content, has remained routine.

Moving Forward, Looking Back: Prints from the Anderson Graphic Arts Collection highlights the practices of quotation and stylistic reinvigoration by some of the most daring and prominent artists held in the Museums’ Anderson Graphic Arts Collection. The exhibition presents the works of Jennifer Bartlett, Jim Dine, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg, showing how these artists adapted the creative spirits of their predecessors—those of Giovanni Bellini, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso, among others—to inform and advance their individual practices.

Learn more about the Anderson Collection with this look into the exhibition on Google Arts and Culture.

Image: Robert Rauschenberg, "Bellini #5" (detail), 1989. Color photoetching, aquatint, and etching. 59 x 38 3/8 in. (149.9 x 97.5 cm). Printed by Shelly C. Beech, Richard Dawson, and Hitoshi Kido; published by Universal Limited Art Editions. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, gift of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation, 1996.74.418. © 2019 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation