Palmer presents exhibition on unconventional French printmaker Félix Buhot

September 24, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This fall, the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State will spotlight Félix Buhot, one of the most original French printmakers of the 19th century. "Fantasy and Reality: The World According to Félix Buhot " opens Sept. 2­­5 and will be accompanied by related gallery talks and programs throughout the fall.

“Felix Buhot’s achievement as a visionary artist-etcher is unprecedented,” said Erin M. Coe, director of the Palmer Museum of Art. “This exquisite and evocative exhibition provides visitors the space to study exceptional ex­­amples of Buhot’s experimental techniques and rich atmospheric effects for which he is best known.”

Félix Buhot (1847–1898) was a uniquely experimental printmaker in France during the last quarter of the 19th century. This period was marked by a growing interest among artists in the evocation of thoughts and emotions, which competed in the art world with lingering realist tendencies. Buhot found comfort in both arenas, regularly decorating his naturalistic renderings of Paris and other scenic areas with morose and fantastical imagery. The borders of the print were of particular interest, where the artist extended his central theme with a series of anecdotal embellishments to create what he termed “symphonic margins.”

“Buhot was a master technician, an experimenter,” wrote James Goodfriend, guest curator for the exhibition and one of the world’s leading experts on the artist. “He was a pioneer in unconventional printmaking techniques that involved work not only on the plate itself, but also on the paper, the inks, and even the already printed, and supposedly finished, image. His graphic work stands as one of the treasures of 19th-century art.”

The exhibition features 46 works, including scenes of city life, country landscapes, and literary illustrations adorned with the artist’s unusual additions, all on loan from a private collection. It offers visitors the opportunity to experience a truly exceptional approach to printmaking and also includes several ethereal drawings and paintings by Buhot that are rarely placed on public view.

The exhibition is accompanied by a brochure with an essay by Goodfriend, a worldwide authority on Buhot and the author of the revised and amended catalogue raisonné "Félix Buhot: Catalogue descriptif de son oeuvre gravé" by Gustave Bourcard. Together with his wife and partner, Carol, he has been a dealer and collector of fine prints and drawings for more than 50 years. Before that, he was a writer, music arranger, record producer, and music critic and editor.

Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art, "Fantasy and Reality" is on view through Dec. 15.

Related programming

Friday, Oct. 11

Gallery Talk: "Fantasy and Reality: The World According to Félix Buhot"

12:10 p.m.

Patrick McGrady, Charles V. Hallman Senior Curator

Join us on Friday afternoons at 12:10 p.m. for interesting, enlightening gallery talks on current exhibitions and selected works from the permanent collection.

Friday, Oct. 18

Gallery Talk: "Fantasy and Reality: The World According to Félix Buhot"

12:10 p.m.

Nancy Locke, associate professor of art history

Join us on Friday afternoons at 12:10 p.m. for interesting, enlightening gallery talks on current exhibitions and selected works from the permanent collection.

Thursday, Oct. 31

Art After Hours: Halloween Spectacular

6 to 9 p.m.

Enjoy a fang-tastic evening at the art museum, celebrating all things creepy, spooky and ghoulish. Dare to participate in a Zombie Adventure Tour, and test your skill to escape an Art Mystery Room. Costume Contest judging will begin at 8 p.m. Macabre and art-inspired costumes will be treated with extra points!

Join us once a month for evening events designed especially for students. Art After Hours offers multiple activities, programs and performances that help visitors of all ages connect with art in fun and interesting ways.

About the Palmer Museum of Art

The Palmer Museum of Art on the Penn State University Park campus is a free-admission arts resource for the University and surrounding communities in central Pennsylvania. With a collection of 9,600 objects representing a variety of cultures and spanning centuries of art, the Palmer is the largest art museum between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Areas of strength include the museum’s collection of American art from the late 18th century to the present, Old Master paintings, prints and photography, ceramics and studio glass, and a growing collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum presents 10 exhibitions each year and, with 11 galleries, a print-study room, a 150-seat auditorium, and an outdoor sculpture garden, the Palmer Museum of Art is the leading cultural resource for the region.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays and some holidays.

The Palmer receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and from the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information on the Palmer Museum of Art or for the calendar of upcoming events, visit

About the new University Art Museum at Penn State 

Penn State and the Palmer Museum of Art are planning to construct a brand-new University Art Museum located in The Arboretum at Penn State. With nearly twice the exhibition space of the Palmer, new classroom spaces and a teaching gallery, flexible event spaces, and on-site parking, this building would dramatically enhance the museum’s capacity to offer educational and enrichment opportunities for visitors of all ages. It would be integrated with the Arboretum, inspiring collaboration and creating a unique nexus of art, architecture and natural beauty. And like the Palmer Museum of Art before it, it will depend upon visionary philanthropy from the Penn State community. Learn more at

Last Updated September 24, 2019