This multifaceted book reviews the vast range of types of printmaking that flourished in France during the 19th century. Studies of this period's printmaking tend to be confined to histories of individual processes, such as lithography or steel engraving. This study surveys the field as a whole and discusses the relationships between the various media in the context of an overall "visual economy."
Lithography, etching, and engraving are all examined through new research on noteworthy artists of the period, including Hyacinthe Aubry-Lecomte, Leopold Flameng, Ferdinand Gaillard, Aime de Lemud, Nadar, and Charles Waltner. Rather than simply tracing the rise of Modernism in the 19th century, Distinguished Images reconstitutes the period's cultural milieu through a series of case studies written with an eye to overarching forces at play. The result is the most original analysis of printmaking to appear in many years-a striking new account of a system in which printmaking, printmakers, and art critics played heretofore unrecognized or misunderstood roles.