Vinalhaven Shelves and Ledges D

Vinalhaven Shelves and Ledges D
Yvonne Jacquette, 1991
pastel monotype, 41.9 x 51.1 cm
(16 1/2 x 20 1/8 in.), Smithsonian American Art Museum

Jacquette Biography

Yvonne Jacquette began making monotypes in the mid-1970s at the encouragement of her dealer Brooke Alexander after seeing catalogues of monotypes by Edgar Degas and Paul Gauguin. For Jacquette, the monotype was a good medium for experimenting with different types of light, and she often reworked an image at different times of day. Monotypes became an integral part of her creative process, influencing her approach to painting: "Monotypes showed me I had to paint with broken strokes with some white of canvas coming through."

Several years later, by sheer accident, Jacquette made a second important breakthrough. Unwrapping a group of pastel drawings, she discovered that the image had been transferred to newsprint, like eighteenth-century counterproofs, and that this gave a sense of distance to the bird's-eye view she was seeking. To make preparatory studies for her paintings, Jacquette often took airplane rides over urban or rural areas, but she had difficulty depicting the sense of atmosphere and space that separated her from the landscape. In collaboration with the printer John C. Erickson at Vinalhaven Press, she developed a method of making pastel monotypes, transferring the particles of pastel pigment as part of the image rather than adding them to the surface of the printed impression, as Degas had done. In a series of views of islands off the coast of Maine, each impression of the same composition suggests a different mood and time of day through variable color combinations and slight modifications of the composition from one proof to the next.

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