Robert Nanteuil (French, 1623–1678), Giles Rousselet (French, 1610–1686), and Anton Würth (German, b. 1957), Portrait of Louis XIV Surrounded by an Allegorical Composition of 1667, together with N–Predella III, 2012, engraving.
Photo: Courtesy of C. G. Boerner, New York
Ornament Doesn’t Need Little Flowers: Anton Würth and Engraving in the 21st Century
NOTRE DAME, INDIANA • Snite Museum of Art • Ongoing
German printmaker and book artist Anton Würth (b. 1957) engages in an artistic dialog with the virtuoso French seventeenth-‐century portrait engraver Robert Nanteuil, whose masterpiece Portrait of Louis XIV Surrounded by an Allegorical Composition forms the basis for the present exhibition.
Ornament Doesn’t Need Little Flowers: Anton Würth and Because of its laborious nature, engraving is practiced by only a very few contemporary artists. Würth is one of them.
Reclaiming the lower margin of Nanteuil’s image where Nanteuil’s original dedication is missing, Würth created a new “predella”—a term normally used in conjunction with altarpieces, suggesting that the subject of the portrait was meant to be worshipped—as an homage to the master. In the process, he gathered together maxims published by Nanteuil and responded to them with his own principles of ornament and design.
Würth studied in Augsburg, Germany, and Urbino, Italy, and has exhibited at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and The Print Center in Philadelphia, among many other museums and libraries around the world. His work is included in the permanent collections of the British Museum, London, the Albertina in Vienna, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.
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