In this exhibition, we present important prints from the early 20th century and discuss the process by which they were made. The printmaking process is highly technical and therefore confusing to many of us. The exhibit features a broad body of work that illustrates the various printmaking techniques that were popular during the Modernist period.
Featured works include masters of American printmaking – John Sloan, Reginald Marsh and Thomas Hart Benton. While these artists have been celebrated more as painters, they are more broadly known to art collectors through their prints. Occasionally, an artist excelled at printmaking above all other media and through it was able to best express their artistic vision. Each print is considered a “multiple original” work of art because it was conceived, created, and individually approved by the artist. In most instances, a pencil signature is visible in the lower margin attesting to the personal vetting of the artist.
The exhibit also dives into the process of engraving, etching, and lithography. These three techniques are the primary methods of printmaking, the oldest of which – engraving – dates to the Renaissance. Visual examples of each process accompany the written definitions, which we hope will help to clarify the three printmaking techniques.
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