World-class printmaking work celebrated in must-see show by Arts Council

Patrick Caulfield, Oh Hélène, J'erre en ma chambre, 1973. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © The Estate of Patrick Caulfield. All rights reserved, DACS 2018

Printmaking sometimes seems like an underappreciated discipline by the wider art community. So it's great to see the launch of the Arts Council Collection’s new touring exhibition, The Printed Line.

The show features the work of nearly 60 artists who have used a variety of printmaking techniques to exploit the potential of the printed line, from the thick velvety line of drypoint and the heavy cross-hatching of etching to delicate wood engraving and boldly coloured screenprints.

Work on show spans the 20th century to the present day and includes Walter Sickert's cross-hatched etching The Old Middlesex, Ben Nicholson's drypoint Halse Town 1949, a bold etching by Eduardo Chillida and David Hockney's pared-down linear etchings.

The use of colour, meanwhile, is explored in screenprints by Bridget Riley and Kenneth Martin, as well as Simon Patterson's witty lithograph, which reworks the lines of the London tube map.

One of the biggest highlights of the exhibition is Henri Matisse’s Le Grand Bois, the largest and most important of four woodcuts which he made in 1906-07 and was one of the three Fauve woodcuts shown at Matisse's second solo exhibition in 1906. Le Grand Bois, based on a preparatory brush and ink study, illustrates Matisse's interest in an expressive counterpoint of ornamental patterns resulting from the use of a variety of brushstrokes.

The Printed Line is at Torre Abbey Museum, Torquay until 2 June 2019, and will then tour the UK until 15 November 2020. For more information visit the Arts Council Collections website.

Henri Matisse, Le Grand Bois Large Woodcut, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist. DACS 2019

Henri Matisse, Le Grand Bois Large Woodcut, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist. DACS 2019

Ben Nicholson, Halse Town 1949, 1949. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Angela Verren Taunt 2017. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018

Ben Nicholson, Halse Town 1949, 1949. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Angela Verren Taunt 2017. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018

Rachel Whiteread, LOndOn 2O12, 2011. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

Rachel Whiteread, LOndOn 2O12, 2011. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

David Hockney, TWO BOYS AGED 23 OR 24 FROM 'ILLUSTRATIONS FOR FOURTEEN POEMS FROM C.P CAVAFY', 1966-67. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © David Hockney

David Hockney, TWO BOYS AGED 23 OR 24 FROM 'ILLUSTRATIONS FOR FOURTEEN POEMS FROM C.P CAVAFY', 1966-67. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © David Hockney

Richard Smith, Butterfly VII, 1972. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Richard Smith Foundation

Richard Smith, Butterfly VII, 1972. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Richard Smith Foundation

Norman Stevens, Clapboard House with Fronds (set of 6 - edition of 50), 1972. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Norman Stevens R.A.

Norman Stevens, Clapboard House with Fronds (set of 6 - edition of 50), 1972. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Norman Stevens R.A.

Frank Auerbach, Seated Nude, Arms Raised, 1954. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

Frank Auerbach, Seated Nude, Arms Raised, 1954. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist

Birgit Skiold Mighty Billow I, 1967. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust

Birgit Skiold Mighty Billow I, 1967. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © Birgit Skiöld Memorial Trust