BMA Voices: “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”

Lepic Install shot

Installation of Ludovic Napoléon Lépic’s “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”, in the exhibition Print by Print: Series from Dürer to Lichtenstein, 2012.

Rena Hoisington, Curator & Dept Head of Prints, Drawings & Photographs

In 2012 I had the privilege of working with ten undergraduates from Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art to organize the exhibition Print by Print: Series from Dürer to Lichtenstein. Out of the 29 series of prints selected for inclusion in the show, Ludovic Napoléon Lépic’s Views from the Banks of the Scheldt was among the students’ favorites. When this series was installed in the third gallery of the exhibition, the 20 prints, grouped in two horizontal rows, spanned a wall more than 25 feet in length.

All 20 of the prints in this series were created from the same etched copper plate depicting a tranquil river landscape. Only one impression, however, was printed by means of pure etching—that is, the artist worked ink into the acid-bitten lines, then wiped the surface of the plate clean before printing. For the other nineteen impressions, the artist worked directly on the plate’s surface, employing a range of inking and wiping processes to recreate the ever-changing effects of weather, various times of day, diverse topography, and the occasional dramatic event.

Look closely at the following images and you’ll see that certain compositional elements remain constant: the signal post and man in the foreground, the windmills and ships in the background. Ludovic Napoléon Lépic referred to this technique as “l’eau-forte mobile” or “variable etching,” though today it is usually referred to as monoprint. In his 1876 publication How I Became an Etcher, Lépic claims to have printed 85 variations of Views from the Banks of the Scheldt, but aside from the unique group of prints in the BMA’s collection, only one other impression of this composition is known.

The Print by Print exhibition provided the first opportunity for the BMA to exhibit this series in its entirety, and it was indeed revelatory and awe-inspiring to see the range of effects Lépic was able to achieve.

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). View from the Banks of the Scheldt. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from Garrett Collection, BMA 1979.201

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). View from the Banks of the Scheldt. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Purchase with exchange funds from Garrett Collection, BMA 1979.201

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Sunrise. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.9

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Sunrise. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.9

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Rain. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.10

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Rain. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.10

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Willows. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.11

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Willows. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.11

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). The Moon through the Willows. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.12

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). The Moon through the Willows. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.12

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Night. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.13

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Night. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.13

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Dawn. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.14

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Dawn. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.14

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Snow in the Fog. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.15

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Snow in the Fog. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.15

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). A Shower. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.16

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). A Shower. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.16

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). After the Storm. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.17

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). After the Storm. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.17

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Calm. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.18

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Calm. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.18

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Storm. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.19

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Storm. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.19

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Evening. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.20

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Evening. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.20

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Trunk of a Chestnut Tree. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.21

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Trunk of a Chestnut Tree. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.21

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Snow. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.22

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Snow. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.22

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Moonlight. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.23

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Moonlight. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.23

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Moonrise. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.24

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Moonrise. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.24

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Willows and Poplars. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.25

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Willows and Poplars. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. he Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.25

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). The Mill Fire. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.33

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). The Mill Fire. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.33

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Snow. c. 1870‑1876. From the series "Views from the Banks of the Scheldt". The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.34

Ludovic Napoléon Lépic (French, 1839‑1889). Snow. c. 1870‑1876. From the series “Views from the Banks of the Scheldt”. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.34

BMA Voices is an insider’s exploration of The Baltimore Museum of Art collection through the eyes of its curators, conservators, and registrars. Featuring a new object every day during the BMA’s 100 Day Celebration, the project will highlight some favorite, amusing, unusual, and obscure objects. 

 

 

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