Hercules Segers: Painter, Etcher, A Catalogue Raisonné

About the Artist

Hercules Segers (1589/90–c. 1640) was one of the most unusual artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Born into a Flemish immigrant family in Haarlem, Segers also lived in Leiden, Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague, where he died.

Hercules Segers: Painter, Etcher, A Catalogue Raisonné

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Edited by Huigen Leeflang and Pieter Roelofs

Hercules Segers (sometimes spelled Seghers) may be art history's greatest unknown artist. Active in early 17th-century Holland just before Rembrandt, he created otherworldly landscapes of astonishing originality that today are viewed as radical anticipations of modernism. Using an array of innovative techniques that still puzzle scholars (including his famous sugar lift etching method), Segers created extraordinarily resonant, melancholic landscapes characterized by luscious, soft lines that resemble nothing by his contemporaries and little that has followed since.


Segers rejected the notion that prints from a single plate should be identical, instead freely deploying varied color schemes, then adding lines or cutting down the plate and sometimes printing on cloth. Consequently, each print became a unique miniature painting. Poets and artists down through the ages have been fascinated by Segers's poetical art; he strongly influenced Rembrandt, who owned at least eight of his paintings (and one of his printing plates), and more recently, the director Werner Herzog helped revive Segers's name by featuring his prints in his piece for the 2012 Whitney Biennial.


Accompanying a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, this revelatory two-volume catalogue raisonné (one volume comprised of plates and the other of critical texts) is the most substantial work on the artist ever published, and the first in English since 1978. Beautifully designed by Irma Boom, it contains detailed descriptions of all 18 known paintings and all 184 etchings in full color, most of them at actual size.

  • 2-volume set with slipcase
  • 9.25 x 12 inches
  • 700 pages, 223 color illustrations
  • Published: 2017

Editorial Reviews

"The exhibition emphasizes Segers’s restless technical experimentation, such as the way he played with different colored inks deployed on different colored papers, then painted over the results with washes and oils . . . The larger mystery of this visually challenging and immensely rewarding exhibition is why this wonderful artist isn’t familiar to us all." —Christopher Benfey, The New York Review of Books

"A master of black-and-white medium—looking at a giant oak you can almost hear the rustle of the leaves . . . Several examples here have the delicate, soul-piercing clarity of a fine Chinese ink painting." —The New Yorker

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