While many of the prints in PAN may be familiar to a large number of collectors and scholars, it is unusual that this highly important document of the turbulence between avant-garde and conservative artists in fin-de-siècle Europe should not have had a serious exhibition in the United States in the one hundred and fourteen years since its original publication in 1895.
PAN, the important German five-volume Art Nouveau periodical, is replete with plates, illustrations, color initials, vignettes and tail-pieces representing a multitude of processes of modern picture reproduction, including original lithographs, etchings, and woodcuts, and other original and near-original processes in black and white or full color.
The name PAN was taken from the ancient God of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music: his goat-like head, with horns and beard, like a faun or satyr– virile, connected to fertility and the season of spring– was the logo of the venture.
Also, the Greek origin of the term is “ALL”—and indeed, the group of 30-something German intellectuals, art historians, and cultural observers who embarked in 1895 upon one of the milestones of publishing in the graphic arts aspired to a pan-European reach.
Thus in PAN we are privileged to view a collection of brilliant graphic works by such French, Dutch, Belgian, German, English, and Swedish artists as Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac, and Seurat; Van de Velde; Rops; Kollwitz and Behrens; Nicholson, Rothenstein, and Pennell; and Anders Zorn, among many others. PAN’s literary contributers included such figures as Nietzsche, Novalis, Mallarmé, Maeterlinck, Ibsen, and Verlaine.
It is a particular merit of this first extensive exhibition of PAN to discover the brilliance of original prints by less well known contributors such as Walter Leistikow, Hans Thoma, Wilhelm Volz, Otto Eckmann, Eugen Kirchner, and Albert Krüger.
The exhibition is enriched with elucidating commentaries on the plates by the distinguished Curator Emeritus, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Robert Flynn Johnson; together with a cultural overview by Peter Frank, Senior Curator, Riverside Museum and Editor, THE Magazine, Los Angeles, together with an excerpt from a forthcoming book on the subject by Victoria Martino, independent curator and art historian.
The exhibition was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA, in association with Denenberg Fine Arts, West Hollywood, CA.