As my daughter Ellie has urged me to post in Spirit of Line, so I have decided to dedicate my first post in over a year to the theme of daughters in etchings. We begin with William Lee Hankey’s etching of a mother and her baby girl, before moving to “Mother and Daughter” by the American artist, Irwin Hoffman (1901-1989). A native of Boston, Hoffman studied art in Europe in the 1920s, and his work bears the wonderful style of 1920s and 30s art. With his strong sense of social consciousness, he depicted the lives of immigrants and of ordinary people.
On the other end of the artistic spectrum is the incomparable Angelica Kauffman (1741 – 1807), the daughter of a skilled Austrian muralist and painter. A child prodigy, she studied art in Milan and Florence in the mid 18th century, before eventually moving to England. In Great Britain she found patronage with Lady Wentworth, and soon she was in great demand, painting portraits of the nobility and even the royal family. In the etching here, “Mother and child with an apple”, 1763, she shows her virtuosity with prosperous but definitely non-royal subjects.
On the theme of daughters, we move to Renoir’s loving etching of his dear friend Berthe Morisot’s daughter, Julie, the niece of Edouard Manet. Renoir’s mastery as an etcher is often overlooked in favour of the lush beauty of his oil paintings. In this example, we see how he uses drypoint techniques to create a luminosity and to emphasise the curves of the hats.
Surely the theme of mother and daughter can be carried to cats! I end with an etching (1915) of a mother and her kitten by the Swiss Art Nouveau artist, Théophile Steinlen (1859 – 1923). A prolific artist, he was a member of the artistic community in Montmartre, Paris from the 1890s until he died in 1923. His prodigious output included commercial art as well as depictions of societal ills, yet he always returned to creating images of his beloved cats. It is for these that he is most remembered today.