Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints: Revolution, Resistance, and Activism

July 29, 2021–January 17, 2022
Previously on view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690
Free with Museum admission

The Department of Drawings and Prints boasts more than one million drawings, prints, and illustrated books made in Europe and the Americas from around 1400 to the present day. Because of their number and sensitivity to light, the works can only be exhibited for a limited period and are usually housed in on-site storage facilities. To highlight the vast range of works on paper, the department organizes four rotations a year in the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery. Each installation is the product of a collaboration among curators and consists of up to one hundred objects grouped by artist, technique, style, period, or subject.

For centuries, art has played a role in revolutions, protests, and social activist movements. This installation explores how artists from the eighteenth century to the present have mobilized works on paper to promote causes or ideals, record or respond to events, and sway public opinion. The drawings, prints, and posters on view relate to the American, French, Haitian, Mexican, and Russian revolutions, the abolition of slavery, and campaigns for and against the dominant political systems of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As this grouping demonstrates, artists have turned to printmaking, in particular, to call attention to racial, gender, and economic injustices.

Art, Protest, and Public Space

A selection of prints investigate the role art has played in revolutions, protests, and social activist movements from the eighteenth century to the present. Read more on Perspectives.

Exhibition Objects

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Louis XVI Entering Paris, October 6, 1789, Jacques François Joseph Swebach  French, Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, watercolor and gouache, over graphite
Jacques François Joseph Swebach (French, Metz 1769–1823 Paris)
The Bravery of Parisian Women on October 5, 1789, Jacques-Philippe Caresme  French, Engraving
Jacques-Philippe Caresme (French, Paris 1734–1796 Paris)
ca. 1789
The Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 (Prise de la Bastille le 14 juillet 1789), Charles Thévenin  French, Etching
Charles Thévenin (French, Paris 1760–1839 Paris)
ca. 1793
Study for "The Enrollment of the Volunteers of 1792", Thomas Couture  French, Black chalk on gray paper
Thomas Couture (French, Senlis 1815–1879 Villiers-le-Bel)
ca. 1848–51
See, Mr. Réac, it is quite enought!, from 'News of the day,' published in "Le Charivari", Honoré Daumier  French, Gillotage on newsprint
Honoré Daumier (French, Marseilles 1808–1879 Valmondois)
March 30, 1871
Women of Montmartre, from "The Graphic," vol. 3, Arthur Boyd Houghton  British, born India, Wood engraving
After Arthur Boyd Houghton (British (born India), Madras 1836–1875 London)
June 10, 1871
The Paris Mob–A Barricade in Paris, from "The Graphic," vol. 3, Arthur Boyd Houghton  British, born India, Wood engraving
After Arthur Boyd Houghton (British (born India), Madras 1836–1875 London)
April 8, 1871
Civil War, Edouard Manet  French, Lithograph on chine collé; second state of two
Multiple artists/makers
1871–73 [published 1874]
Colonne Vendôme, Franck  French, Albumen silver print from glass negative
Franck (French, 1816–1906)
Young Communards in Prison (Les Fédérés à la Conciergerie), Gustave Courbet  French, Black chalk, stumped
Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)
Les Communeux: Types, Caractères, Costumes, Charles-Albert Arnoux Bertall  French, Illustrations: hand-colored wood engraving
Multiple artists/makers
Marquee: José Clemente Orozco, On the Road (or 'Rear Guard'): women carrying children and guns (detail), 1929. Lithograph. Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1929. © 2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York (29.63.4)