David Tunick, Inc.
William Hogarth, Select Prints
William Hogarth, Select Prints
It is not an overstatement to characterize William Hogarth as pioneering and revolutionary. For his time he was avant-garde, cutting-edge, and shocking in his depiction of audacious subject matter. Trained as both a printmaker and painter, it was his prints that enabled him to reach and scandalize a domestic and international audience. Several series of his etchings – in particular, A Rake’s Progress, A Harlot’s Progress, Marriage à la Mode and Gin Street, Beer Lane – moralized, titillated, and with their massive popularity and commercial success brought Hogarth and English art its first widespread recognition beyond England's own shores.
The material in this catalogue is the complete private collection of Hogarth prints formed by a discerning American collector, Herbert M. Schiller, M.D. Dr. Schiller did most of his buying in the 1990’s in London. The major sets and most of the major individual prints are represented.
The collection will first be offered en bloc so as to try to keep it together, but if it does not sell in its entirety, at some point we shall make the individual items available.
William Hogarth, Hogarth Painting the Comic Muse, 1758, etching and engraving
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William Hogarth, Garrick in the Character of Richard III, 1746, etching and engraving
William Hogarth, Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn, 1738, etching and engraving
William Hogarth, A Rake's Progress, plate 2 from the complete set of six, 1735, etching and engraving
Marriage à la Mode, plate 6 from the complete set of six
each plate approximately 390 x 470 mm. 15 3/8 x 18 1/2 in..
etching and engraving
The Print Room, London; 1994 to Herbert M. Schiller, M.D.
Industry and Idleness, plate 12 from the complete set of twelve
each plate approximately 268 x 350 mm. 10 1/2 x 13 3/4 in
etching and engraving
The Print Room, London; 1996 to Herbert M. Schiller, M.D.
Hogarth was born in London on November 10, 1697 to a school teacher and a landlord’s daughter. His father’s failed attempt to create a Latin-speaking coffeehouse left the family bankrupt and landed Hogarth’s father in Fleet prison. The artist spent his adolescence living within the jurisdiction of the prison, fending for himself along with his mother. Debtors, prisoners, and jailers feature prominently in his work.
At age seventeen, Hogarth began an apprenticeship at Ellis Gamble’s silver workshop, where he mastered the art of engraving. In 1720, he left the apprenticeship to establish his own print studio. He also began studying at the newly established Vanderbank Academy of Art. The artist published his first satirical print in 1721. During his apprenticeship and his time at Vanderbank, Hogarth was exposed to history painting and its eminent practitioner, Sir James Thornhill. Not one to feel surpassed, Hogarth engraved history paintings and learned to paint with oils. In 1729, he eloped with Thornhill’s daughter Jane. The couple moved into Thornhill’s home in Covent Garden in 1731, but two years later they settled in Leicester Fields, where the artist would remain for the rest of his life.
In 1730, Hogarth began his series of engravings targeting what he called “modern moral subjects”, which he sold himself. He began expanding into portraiture, where he faced competition from highly regarded foreign artists. When the Venetian history painter Giacomo Amigoni received a commission to paint murals in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, practically next door to Hogarth’s birthplace, Hogarth offered to paint the murals for free. He did so, thus preventing the commissioning of a foreigner and seizing the opportunity to depict what he considered an Englishman’s version of history.
Hogarth’s popular works became victims of piracy, sparking him to promote the Engraver’s Copyright Act. The artist delayed publication of his series A Rake’s Progress until the Act became law in 1735. Also in 1735, he founded St. Martin’s Lane Academy, where he trained young artists and encouraged English artists to band together. In the 1730’s and 1740’s, Hogarth’s satirical work addressed social and moral reform, targeting gambling, crime, prostitution, and alcoholism. He began to simplify his style, using an expressive structure to reveal meaning through size, shapes, and emblems. In 1753, Hogarth published his aesthetic principles in The Analysis of Beauty, the first formalist art treatise in English.
Loss of English prestige, the disastrous Seven Years War, and disillusionment with English politics in the 1750’s resulted in decreased productivity. In 1757, the artist announced that he was finished with his modern moral subjects. He instead focused on portraiture for the remainder of his career.
Illness plagued Hogarth in the last four years of his life. While he published a few prints, some attacking the war, he faced criticism by those who considered these works traitorous to his former views and merely the products of a senile, old man. Hogarth died on October 25, 1764.