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Figural Prints

The representation of the figure has long been an important exploration in a multitude of artistic methods. An interest in classical motifs and anatomy was revived in the Renaissance; artists were concerned with representing the minutia of the human form. This interest was scientific, but also served an artistic purpose as artists wished to more accurately paint and draw the body.

Interest in the human figure coincided with the rise of printmaking in Western Europe. Printmaking assisted with the dissemination of anatomical illustrations, helping to advance scientific study and medical technology. Artists like Andrea Mantegna borrowed from rediscovered classical art in his study of the human form and used printmaking to reproduce his images for distribution to a wide audience.

Interest in figural art continued throughout the early 20th century, though artistic attention did turn to landscape, industrial scenes, and eventually abstract expressionism. The figure also has a place in contemporary printmaking, as artists moved away from abstraction in the post war period.


Quick Facts

  • In the early 1500s, the Italian painter and printmaker Parmigianino created exceptional figural engravings, etchings, and woodcuts. He used the etching technique to work out the figure in the sinuous style of mannerism
  • The German Expressionist group Die Brucke explored the human figure primarily through woodcut prints, favoring the rough, primitive result from quickly drawn sketches
  • Lucien Freud created etchings early in his career, then rediscovered etching in the 1980s. Freud drew directly onto the copper plate, and his etchings are notable for the candor with which he treats his subjects, especially his nudes

Recommended Items at Auction

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Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991)
Apr 19, 11:00 AM CDT
Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991)
by Neal Auction Company
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$2,7008 Bids
Jan Lebenstein 1930-1999
Apr 21, 7:00 PM EEST
Jan Lebenstein 1930-1999
by Tiroche Auction House
Est: $150- $200
$1708 Bids
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R.C. GORMAN "CHILI PICKER" LITHOGRAPH
May 05, 9:00 AM MST
R.C. GORMAN "CHILI PICKER" LITHOGRAPH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$708 Bids
L’Astre (The Star) by Salvador Dali- Hand Signed
Apr 21, 9:00 AM MST
L’Astre (The Star) by Salvador Dali- Hand Signed
by R & R Auction INC
Est: $0- $0
$608 Bids
Banksy, wood- Prehistoric shopping
Apr 21, 10:15 PM CEST
Banksy, wood- Prehistoric shopping
by Novartia
Est: €800- €1,000
€707 Bids
Dox Thrash (1893-1965) "Inveigling"
Apr 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Dox Thrash (1893-1965) "Inveigling"
by Material Culture
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$3,0007 Bids
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Simon Ravenet - Anatomical study of a walking skeleton - 1747
Apr 18, 7:00 PM CEST
Simon Ravenet - Anatomical study of a walking skeleton - 1747
by Old Master Print
Est: €280- €380
€8007 Bids
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FRITZ SCHOLDER "PATRIOTIC INDIAN" (STATE II) LITHOGRAPH
May 05, 9:00 AM MST
FRITZ SCHOLDER "PATRIOTIC INDIAN" (STATE II) LITHOGRAPH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1107 Bids
Erte "The Wave" Serigraph on Paper
Apr 16, 11:00 AM EDT
Erte "The Wave" Serigraph on Paper
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $300- $500
$4757 Bids
Toko Shinoda Legend Color Lithograph Signed
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
Toko Shinoda Legend Color Lithograph Signed
by Concept Art Gallery
Est: $400- $600
$4506 Bids
KENOJUAK ASHEVAK - Child with Owls
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
KENOJUAK ASHEVAK - Child with Owls
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $800- $1,000
$5206 Bids
An Erte Rogoletto Hand Signed Serigraph
Apr 28, 11:00 AM MST
An Erte Rogoletto Hand Signed Serigraph
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $1,500- $4,000
$905 Bids
CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN LITHOGRAPH BY ROBERT GABITOV
Apr 21, 10:00 AM EDT
CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN LITHOGRAPH BY ROBERT GABITOV
by Antique Arena Inc
Est: $100- $150
$505 Bids
Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991) 'Dos Cabezas' Lithograph
Apr 21, 10:00 AM CDT
Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991) 'Dos Cabezas' Lithograph
by Leonard Auction
Est: $600- $800
$5005 Bids
A Limited Edition Signed John Neito Serigraph
Apr 28, 11:00 AM MST
A Limited Edition Signed John Neito Serigraph
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $600- $2,000
$1004 Bids
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FRANK HOWELL "CROW OMEN" LITHOGRAPH
May 05, 9:00 AM MST
FRANK HOWELL "CROW OMEN" LITHOGRAPH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$254 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Figural Prints


Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

Absolute Auction

Absolute Auction

KCM Galleries

KCM Galleries