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Camille Pissarro

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Camille Pissarro (France, 1830–1903)
Nude with Swans
, c. 1895
6 ½ x 5 ¼ in.
Aaron M. and Clara Weitzenhoffer Bequest, 2000


Camille Pissarro was a prolific printmaker and produced hundreds of etchings and lithographs over the course of his career. As his vision worsened in later years, preventing him from painting en plein air, he turned to printmaking and purchased his own press in 1894. This lithograph, Nude with Swans, is based upon the gouache of the same name in the Weitzenhoffer Collection and belongs to his series of bathers produced between 1893 and 1896. Lithography, literally “stone (litho) writing or drawing (graph),” was developed at the end of the eighteenth century and was the most widely used print medium in nineteenth-century France for illustrating books, periodicals, and newspapers. Using a waxy crayon, Pissarro drew his forms on the stone in a sketchy manner that imparted some of the same energy visible in the gouache. Pissarro then exposed to stone to acid, which etched the surface save for those portions protected by the crayon. The subsequent relief created on the stone could be used to print the image.