In March 2024, AGGV Chief Curator & Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Steven McNeil, spoke at the Curating Prints Seminar in London, UK. The Seminar was co-organized by the Getty Paper Project and the Print Quarterly and brought together curators responsible for collections of prints from around the world.

The AGGV has a huge collection of prints, with exceptional strengths in European and Canadian art. Since joining the AGGV in 2023 I have been very keen to work with this part of the Collection, and especially in thinking about ways it can be presented to the public through exhibitions, publications and online content. Because of all this, I was very happy to participate in The Curating Prints Seminar organized by the Print Quarterly and the Getty Paper Project.

Since 2018 the Getty Foundation has been funding international initiatives to promote the sharing of expertise around works on paper through the Getty Paper Project. With the support of the Getty Foundation, and under the editorship of Rhodel Eitel-Porter, the esteemed journal, Print Quarterly offered a full week dedicated to the study of printmaking from March 18 – 22, 2024, in London, for ten curators from around the world. Presenters included Chloé Perrot, Curator of Prints and Photographs at the Bibliotheque National de France; Maria Aresin, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Kunsthalle Bremen; Kingà Bodi, Chief Curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest; Catherine Daunt, Hamish Parks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Graphic Art at the British Museum; Urszula Dragonska, Curator of Prints at the University of Warsaw Library; Jenny Graser, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museum, Berlin Guido Scholten, Curator at the Draiflessen Collection, Mettingen; Joseph Henry, Curatorial Fellow at the Yale University Art Gallery and myself from the AGGV.

Image Credit: Curating Prints Seminar participants studying artists books with curator Venetia Porter at the British Museum

Each presenter at The Curating Prints Seminar spoke on aspects of the print collections they are responsible for. These presentations were interspersed with curatorial workshops led by leading experts from London’s major museums through which we were able to discuss common issues around the study and presentation of print collections. I spoke on the relationship between the prints of Walter J. Phillips and Japanese woodblock prints, using prints from the British Museum to facilitate my session. The British Museum has an excellent collection of works by Walter J. Phillips as well as one of the best collections of Japanese woodblock prints in the world. It was very good to make connections between the AGGV collections and the work of colleagues around the world.

Image Credit: Curating Prints Seminar participants looking at Durer prints at the British Museum Study Room with David Landau, leading expert on Durer.

Highlights of the week included a day of studying prints and artist’s books with Venetia Porter, curator and author of the British Museum publication – Artists Making Books; a full day printmaking workshop led by Michael Taylor at Paupers Press, in which the curators were invited to make prints and operate a range of printing presses; as well as visits to the London Original Print Fair and a curatorial tour of the Lucien Freud etching exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The final day of the Seminar included the incredible opportunity to look closely at many Albrecht Dűrer prints with David Landau, the founding editor of Print Quarterly and a leading expert on Dűrer. David had many of Dűrer’s works laid out in front of us at the British Museum Prints and Drawings Study Room, along with copies of, and works inspired by Dűrer’s work. He carefully walked us through his findings for each work, explaining how and where they were printed, the huge impact that Dűrer had on Italian artists, and the warning signs of fakes and copies of Dűrer’s work. This was an exceptional day and will prove useful to my work at the AGGV, which is home to a fine collection of prints by Dűrer.

A detailed summary of The Curating Prints Seminar was recently published in the journal, Nouvelles de L’Estampe and can be found HERE


Written by Steven McNeil, Chief Curator & Director of Collections and Exhibitions


Feature Image: AGGV Chief Curator Steven McNeil at the Printmaking Workshop led at Paupers Press Printing House in London, UK, as part of the Curating Prints Seminar.