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Crocker Art Museum presents Fishing Lines. Etching and Engraving from the Gary Widman Collection

The Crocker Art Museum presents Fishing Lines: Etching and Engraving from the Gary Widman Collection, an exhibition exploring the art of angling on view through May 13, 2012.

Crocker Art Museum

From anglers on Rembrandt’s riverbanks to William Wegman’s scaly creatures, artists have had a special affinity for fishing subjects. This exhibition, drawn from an extensive private collection, examines the importance of the watery world in the history of etching and engraving. In addition to prints by Rembrandt and Wegman, the exhibition includes works by Adriaen van Ostade, Sir Frank Short, Winslow Homer, Robert Sargent Austin, and Peter Milton.

Five centuries of themes and techniques are examined in “Fishing Lines,” beginning with the earliest works from the 16th and 17th centuries featuring fish in mythological, allegorical, and religious scenes. By the 17th century, artists were fully exploring etching, creating flowing lines with acid rather than the laborious grooves made by the engraver’s tool. Naturalists in the 18th century used hand-colored etchings to record exotic tropical discoveries. In the 19th century, certain printmakers in France and England revived the use of etching for artistic subjects rather than reproduction. Advances in technique and new approaches to subject matter—including sly humor—created a fervid atmosphere of innovation in the early 20th century that continues today.

“With anglers and angling as the focal point, this exhibition provides a unique look at the history of etching and engraving,” said William Breazeale, Ph.D., curator at the Crocker Art Museum. “It is the first print exhibition of its scope in the Crocker’s Anne and Malcolm McHenry Works on Paper Study Center.”

A gallery guide, featuring an essay by Breazeale and 14 full-color reproductions, will accompany the exhibition.

The Crocker Art Museum was the first art museum in the Western U.S. and remains one of the leading art museums in California. Established in 1885, the Museum features one of the country’s finest collections of Californian art, exceptional holdings of master drawings, a comprehensive collection of international ceramics, as well as European, Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker is located at 216 O Street in Downtown Sacramento. Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday; 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Thursdays. For more information, call (916) 808-7000 or visit

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