Visiting Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion?

You must join the virtual exhibition queue when you arrive. If capacity has been reached for the day, the queue will close early.

Learn more
Exhibitions/ Artists and Amateurs

Artists and Amateurs: Etching in Eighteenth-Century France

At The Met Fifth Avenue
October 1, 2013–January 5, 2014

Exhibition Overview

Throughout the eighteenth century, a large number of artists—painters, sculptors, draftsmen, and amateurs—experimented with etching, a highly accessible printmaking technique akin to drawing. Some, like Antoine Watteau and François Boucher, encountered the process within the thriving commerce of the Paris print market. Others, like Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Hubert Robert, experimented with the technique during their student years in Rome. Over the course of the century, the free and improvisational aesthetic of the etching process increasingly was embraced, and French artists looked to seventeenth-century masters, such as Rembrandt in the north, and Salvator Rosa and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione to the south, for inspiration. The expressive potential of the technique was also explored in a more experimental manner by artists like Gabriel de Saint-Aubin and Louis Jean Desprez, who harnessed the inky tonalities of the medium to their personal and idiosyncratic vision. The exhibition includes loans from North American museums and private collections.

Featured Media


The exhibition is made possible by The Schiff Foundation.

The catalogue is made possible by Karen B. Cohen.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in

Exhibition Objects

Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (French, Paris 1724–1780 Paris). Vue du Salon du Louvre en l'année 1753 (detail), 1753. Etching, image: 5 13/16 x 7 1/8 in. (14.8 x 18.1 cm); sheet: 6 1/4 x 7 5/8 in. (15.8 x 19.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Wrightsman Fund, 2006 (2006.84)