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Sixty Years of North American Prints: Collecting from the Boston Printmakers

February 9 - April 1, 2007


The Boston University Art Gallery (BUAG) will host an exhibition to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of The Boston Printmakers, February 9 - April 1, 2007. The exhibition will highlight the work of local, national and international printmakers, as well as educate the public about the field of printmaking since 1947. To mark the opening of the exhibition, a reception was held at the gallery on February 8. (right: Aline Feldman, Rainheld City, 1997. Woodcut. 39 x 28 3/4 inches. Photo Courtesy of the Art Complex Museum. Duxbury, MA.)

Exhibition curator, David Acton, who is also curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Worcester Art Museum, has carefully selected the best of the award-winning prints and purchases from The Boston Printmakers' exhibitions over the past 60 years. Actondescribes his selections as "astute and flawless impressions made by some of the finest printmakers working in drastically changing times."The exhibition seeks to incorporate an international flair as well as reflect the growth and expansion of the print medium.

In addition to the display at BUAG, there will also be a companion exhibition entitled Sixty Years of North American Prints: Creating Public Collections at the Art Complex Museumin, Duxbury, MA. While BUAG will feature prints that were purchased by curators and individual patrons (some of which have found their way into public collections), the Art Complex Museum will feature prints that were purchased and donated by The Boston Printmakers to public collections.

Sixty Years of North American Prints: Collecting from The Boston Printmakers at BUAG begins with prints shown at the very first Boston Printmakers exhibition in May of 1948. Among them are works by Otis Phibrick, Ture Bengtz and Arthur Heintzelman, all of whom played instrumental roles in forming the Boston organization, as well as Allan Rohan Crite, Grace Albee, Letterio Calapai, Clare Leighton, and Thomas Nason who joined The Boston Printmakers in its first year. Covering the full 60-year span of development, featured artists of the 1950-60s include Michael Mazur, Richard Bartlett, Nora Unwin, Sigmund Abeles, and Minna Citron, while Warrington Colescott, Aline Feldman, Sidney Hurwitz, Karen Kunc, Masaaki Sato, Donald Stoltenberg, Constance Jacobson, Carol Wax, and Andrew Raftery are among the artists representing the 1970s to the present.

In addition to the opening reception on February 8, a second reception was held at BUAG at the Stone Gallery on February 18. There will also be several related print making shows at Boston University concurrently, including The Boston Printmakers 2007 North American Print Biennial and The Fifth Arches Student Print Show, on display at Boston University's 808 Gallery (February 18 - April 1), as well as Episodes & Itineraries: Installations in Print Media by South American Artists, on display at Boston University's Sherman Gallery (January 23 - March 9). (right: Janet Turner. Guinea Fowl, 1950. Linocut. 16 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches (plate). Photo Courtesy of The Boston Public Library)

Sixty Years of North American Prints is sponsored in part by Ardon Vinyl Graphics, Art Complex Museum, Boston Public LIbrary, De Cordova Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Stanhope Framers, and U.S. Art Company, Inc.

The Boston Printmakers is a nonprofit organization providing Boston and New England patrons access to fine art printmaking since 1948. The Boston Printmakers' extensive print collection is available to the public through the Boston Public Library. The organization adds to this collection every two years with a Purchase Prize awarded to artists through the Print Biennial. In addition to the Print Biennial and the Arches Student Show, The Boston Printmakers sponsors traveling shows and member shows -- which always debut in the Boston area, providing further cultural and learning opportunities to Boston and Greater New England -- as well as promoting global sharing through international printmaking and traveling exhibitions. 


Selected supplementary programming

Panel Discussion: Fueling the Future: Education and The Boston Printmakers. Date: Sunday, March 4, 2007 - Time: 2:00 - 3:30 PM. Location: BUAG at the Stone Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA. Description: Hosted by Sidney Hurwitz, the panel includes artists from Sixty Years of North American Prints who will discuss the common pairing of teaching and printmaking, working in a community and influencing others. The speakers are Sigmund Abeles, Deborah Cornell, Constance Jacobson and Michael Mazur. 
Workshop:What Are Prints? Demystifying Technique. Date:Sunday, April 15, 2007 - Time: 2:00 PM. Location: The Art Complex Museum, 189 Alden Street, Duxbury, MA. Description: A hands on presentation by Carolyn Muskat, President of The Boston Printmakers and owner/operator of Muskat Studios in Somerville, MA. 


Wall text from the exhibition

In 1947 a group of student printmakers in Boston came together to share information and exhibition opportunities.  They enlisted the support of faculty sponsors, Otis Philbrick of the Massachusetts College of Art and Ture Béngtz of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, who would become the organization's mainstays when the students moved on to professional careers.  In 1948 the Boston Printmakers mounted their first exhibition in the fourth-floor room displays at Paine's Furniture Store.  The show had a New England orthodoxy, for most of its prints looked back to traditions of book illustration and the Etching Revival, at a time of avant-garde experimentation in American printmaking.  Soon the organization and its shows were among the leading venues for academic printmaking.  They attracted artists who undertook every phase of the creative process themselves.  Many have been teachers, who valued talent and virtuosity above fashionable taste.  Moderation accompanied a principled democracy, and the exhibitions remained open to all and judged by peers.  The Boston Printmakers' Print Exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts were among the most prestigious print shows of the 1950s and 1960s.  Thirty years of unprecedented popularity followed for fine prints, waning only with the ascent of electronic media.  This anniversary exhibition shows how the Boston Printmakers made history during a dynamic period of American art, and how it's lively membership and ambitious projects can look forward to a distinguished future. 

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