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Van Gogh Museum Welcomes Rijksmuseum: Graphic Works by Jacques Villon

The presentation Welcoming the Rijksmuseum: Jacques Villon includes over 50 works from the Rijksmuseum’s collection. Open 9 July – 26 September 2010.

This marks the fifth time that the Van Gogh Museum is hosting the Rijksmuseum while the main building undergoes renovation. The presentation features a range of graphic techniques that Jacques Villon used, such as etching, aquatint, drypoint engraving and lithography. The presentation also showcases the prints inspired by drawings and paintings by contemporary artists such as Kees van Dongen, Pierre Bonnard and Vincent van Gogh that Jacques Villon produced for Parisian art dealer Bernheim Jeune between 1922 and 1930. The presentation is built around the private collection of Mr and Mrs Van der Vossen – Delbrück, which the couple bequeathed to the Rijksmuseum’s Print Room.

Jacques Villon
Jacques Villon was a painter and graphic artist whose legacy includes almost 700 prints in addition to paintings. From 1950 onward his work earned international acclaim and his prints became popular collector’s items. Jacques Villon was a pseudonym adopted by Gaston Duchamp, the lesser known brother of Marcel Duchamp. He learned how to draw and etch from his grandfather, an amateur graphic artist. Initially, he began producing illustrations for magazines to pay for his law studies. The illustrations were published under the name Jacques Villon: “Jacques” was inspired by a character in a novel by Alphonse Daudet and “Villon” came from the medieval poet François Villon. He kept the pseudonym throughout his entire life.

The evolution of a graphic artist
Intriguing changes can be seen in Jacques Villon’s work. In the early period, the influence of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Théophile Alexandre Steinlen is plainly visible in his prints. But as Villon’s work developed, it ultimately revealed a unique style that is seldom entirely abstract despite being strongly abstracting. This is also evident in his paintings. As the artist himself was once quoted as saying, “Complete abstraction is not for me; my fondness for life and appearance is too great.” The presentation also examines the various graphic techniques that Villon used.

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