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Altered States: Etching in Late 19th-Century Paris

Possibly descended from the practice of decorating armor, etching entails piercing through a protective coating on a printing plate with a sharp tool and then incising the resulting image into the exposed metal with acid. The technique originated in the early 16th century and was often used for Old Master prints. Altered States explores a high point in the medium’s history, when artists embraced it as a more authentic channel of creativity than commercially driven reproductive printmaking, which served to copy paintings. Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt and other big names are represented along with lesser-known talents such Henri Guérard, Manet’s go-to expert for etching advice.