May 16 to June 17, 1990
In 1986, the Burnaby Art Gallery received a gift of a collection of work by Ernest Stephen Lumsden, a prominent British printmaker, who worked in the early twentieth century. The collection includes examples of all the prints Lumsden produced in his lifetime and consists of 52 drawings, 8 lithographs and 586 etchings. Because it represents a complete record of one artist’s life’s work, the collection is unique. It is a rare opportunity for an institution to have received such a collection.
Ernest Lumsden’s work belongs to the period known as the Etching Revival. An interest in etching as a fine art caught the attention of many notable French and English artists in the late nineteenth century. Not since the period of Rembrandt in the seventeenth century had printmaking enjoyed such wide support. An etching society was formed in France in 1862 – the Societe des Aquafortistes and in 1881 the Society of Painter-Etchers was founded in 1881 by the British etcher Sir Frances Seymour Hayden. The Etching Revival reached its height in the 1920s.
Lumsden began his involvement in etching in 1905 at the age of 22. He coupled his interest in etching with that of a documenter. Lumsden travelled widely throughout his lifetime – Europe, China, India, Africa, Japan and even Canada, documenting his travels in drawings and etchings. These subjects make up a large portion of the artist’s oeuvre.
Lumsden’s prominence as a member of the Etching Revival is, in part, due to the fact that he wrote a definitive “how-to” book on the subject, entitled, “The Art of Etching.” The book is still available and used by printmakers today.
This travelling exhibition will include a representative sampling of Lumsden’s work from all periods of his life and will offer a look at people and places of the world both near and faraway – marketplaces, city gates, mosques, temples, portraits of friends and family, landscapes and cityscapes have been chosen to provide a comprehensive appraisal of the breadth of this artist’s artistic achievements.
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