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Art & Design

Altered States

Etching in Late 19th-Century Paris

In late 19th-century Paris, the printmaking process of etching underwent a revolutionary transformation. At a time when prints were usually used to copy paintings rather than make original works of art, a revival of interest in etching led to greater knowledge of technique, allowing artists to experiment with subject matter and process more than ever before.

Altered States: Etching in Late 19th-Century Paris accompanies the RISD Museum’s exhibition of the same title, on view from June 30 to December 3, 2017. The digital publication’s nine essays use objects seen in the galleries to explore the process of etching and the world of late 19th-century Paris. These texts draw from their authors’ specialized knowledge of printing, French history, and art history to consider the exhibition’s theme from a wide range of perspectives. The richly illustrated digital publication features works on paper by well-known artists such as Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt, as well as those lesser known today, including Albert Besnard and Henri Guérard.

The first scholarly digital publication produced by the RISD Museum, Altered States is enhanced by a glossary that uses videos and images to tie the contemporary practice of etching to its history. This publication was first published, Septemeber 14, 2017 on

Contributors include: Fleur Roos Rosa de Carvalho, curator of prints and drawings, Van Gogh Museum Ashley Dunn, assistant curator of drawings and prints, Metropolitan Museum of Art Megan Foster, associate professor of printmaking, RISD Britany Salsbury (general editor), associate curator of prints and drawings, Milwaukee Art Museum Julia Samuels and Henry Brown, Overpass Projects Brian Shure, workshop production manager, Gemini G.E.L. Gretchen Schultz, professor of French studies, Brown University

General Editor Britany Salsbury

RISD Museum Director John W. Smith

Deputy Director, Exhibitions, Education, and Programs Sarah Ganz Blythe

Editor, Museum Publications Amy Pickworth

Assistant Director, Digital Initiatives Jeremy Radtke

Digital Content Fellow Rocio Delaloye

Proofreader Evelyn Hampton

Designer LeClair Lucas

Web Development Standard Library

Title Type Designer June Shin

Selected objects from Altered States:
Etching in Late 19th-Century Paris