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100 Highlights
of the MFAH
© Eric Fischl
American, born 1948
Year of the Drowned Dog
1983, edition of 35
Composition of 6 intaglio prints: sugar-lift aquatint, scraping, and soft-ground etching in colors

Printed by Peter Kneubühler, Zürich, Switzerland
Untitled (Boy with Dog) 21 13/16 x 16 13/16 inches
Untitled (Woman with Child Watching) 17 9/16 x 11 3/16 inches
Untitled (Three Men Standing) 22 11/16 x 11 5/16 inches
Untitled (Landscape) 22 7/16 x 34 11/16 inches
Untitled (Man Walking) 12 9/16 x 9 5/8 inches
Untitled (Man Dressing) 23 5/16 x 19 1/2 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Peter Blum Edition Archive, 1980–1994
Museum purchase with funds provided
by the Alice Pratt Brown Museum Fund

Arts of North America

Having grown up against a backdrop of alcoholism and a country-club culture obsessed with image over content, artist Eric Fischl focuses on the rift between experience and expression. His landmark portfolio Year of the Drowned Dog consists of two three-part components. When combined, they operate as a pictorial game.

The first component is a triptych of a beach panorama, and the second consists of three separate smaller sheets (mother and child, three sailors, walking man) that overlap the panorama. These irregular-shaped segments transform a tranquil Caribbean beach scene into a complex narrative. The mother and child observe the boy and the dog of the title; the other figures do not interact with each other. Each of the sheets’ varying times of day, as evidenced by the figures’ shadows, underscores the independent, nonlinear development of the imagery. Year of the Drowned Dog was Fischl’s first attempt at a complex, multi-component project of etchings. It marks a shift in subject matter as he began to explore the negative impact of American tourism on idyllic beaches of islands that had recently been developed by the resort industry.