Theme and Variations: The Multiple Sorceries of Félix Buhot

In the late nineteenth century, French printmaker Félix Buhot effected a kind of sorcery on his etching plates, making each impression into a unique work of art simply by varying the inking technique and the inks and papers used. With his evocative, atmospheric scenes of stormy piers and urban streetscapes, he dissolved classic distinctions between figure and ground in ways that challenge the limits of the etching medium.

This booklet accompanies an exhibition of the same name. It features an introduction from curator Anne Leonard and interpretive texts on each set of prints in the exhibition by University of Chicago students. Joining examples from the Hearn Family Trust and Charles Hack with works in the Smart Museum’s collection, it offers a glimpse of Buhot’s extraordinary, evolving artistic process over multiple states and variations of the same print.


Edited by Anne Leonard, with contributions from Megan Beckerich, Rafaela Brosnan, Alina Cui, Kate Fuell, Kris Lipkowski, Cameron Robertson, Charlotte Saul, Natalie Smith, Andrea Tabora, Julia Walker, Lydia Wu, and Adeline Yeo


June 2018


60 pages, full color illustrations of every object in the exhibition




Available for $15 online through the University of Chicago Press or in person at the Smart Museum Shop