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Maker(s):Haskell, Ernest
Culture:American (1876-1925)
Title:Mirror of Goddess
Date Made:1920
Materials:etching and engraving on off-white wove paper
Measurements:Sheet: 11 11/16 in x 14 11/16 in ; 29.7 cm x 37.3 cm; Plate: 8 15/16 in x 11 15/16 in ; 22.7 cm x 30.3 cm
Accession Number:  AC PR.1940.29
Credit Line:Gift of Mrs. George D. Pratt (Vera Hale)
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
This print shows Haskell at the height of his creative and technical powers. The title betrays Haskell’s allegiance to the nineteenth-century American landscape tradition that encouraged meditation on poetic and spiritual concepts. Using myriad techniques, Haskell rendered every facet of nature: vaporous clouds, receding hills, dense foliage, and tranquil water. Modulated layers of etched hatch marks describe bulbous trees, while sharp-edged incisions made with the burin capture the flickering surface of the reflecting pool. The result is a truly transcendent image.

Mirror of Goddess drew mixed criticism, which may shed light on the general reception of Haskell’s work. The plate won first prize from the Brooklyn Society of Etchers in 1923, yet critics dismissed the prints as “technically admirable,” and noted Haskell’s ability to “take pains.” The irony of these assessments did not escape Haskell. Driven by reviews of his first major exhibitions, Haskell had completed three separate tours of study in Paris and one in London, developing technical skills in several demanding media—only to find that his expertise was the bane of his mature work.

KG, How He Was to His Talents exhibition, March 24, 2011-August 7, 2011

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