Maryhill Museum of Art

Goldendale, WA



Triumph of the Human Spirit: Contemporary Prints from the Jordan D. Schnitzer Collection at Maryhill Museum


The second half of the 20th century has witnessed a rebirth in representational art. While Modernism explored abstraction in art, especially under the leadership of Abstract Expressionists, many artists chose to continue to work in a way that directly related to imitating the physical world.

Throughout history artists have always found the human figure to be an irresistible subject. The desire to feature the human image in art speaks to our continued need to know more about ourselves, to reinterpret our personal and collective ideologies, and to signify the importance of our own image as icon.

Each artist represented in this exhibit uses the human image or a surrogate to address the human condition and related relevant issues from a contemporary point of view. All of the artists featured in the exhibit are internationally acclaimed. Their daring and adventurous approaches to printmaking and to interpreting the human image have dazzled and challenged the art world for the past fifty years. The resulting art contains an attitude that conveys an exuberance for the joy of creating known as after-zing. The effect is most visible in prints that have a gestural quality such those by Carlos Almarez, Jim Dine and Red Grooms, but illusive in images by Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann and Alex Katz. (left: Jim Dine, Two Florida Bathrobes, # 14/70, 1986, color etching with hand coloring, Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer)

At a time when acquiring art has presented collectors with an ever expanding array of subjects and techniques to select from, Portland, Oregon based collector Jordan D. Schnitzer focuses on contemporary prints by American and European artists who came to prominence after 1945. Through November 15, 2000 Maryhill Museum will present selected works from this collection.

Heir to all the ages, the 20th century has witnessed the return to center stage of people as the main subject in art. Artists in this exhibit uses the human image or a surrogate to speak about what has been relevant to society during their life times and to address the human condition from a contemporary point of view.

"This persistence in featuring the human image in art speaks to our continued need to study ourselves; to re-interpret our ideology about human character; and to re-clarify the importance of our own image as an icon," said Josie De Falla, Director.

The artists whose work is presented are Carlos Almarez, Francis Bacon, Jonathan Borofsky, Chuck Close, Robert Colescott, Roy Deforest, Richard Diebenkorn, Jim Dine, Tony Fitzpatrick, Red Grooms, Alex Katz, Jacob Lawrence, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Longo, Robert Rauschenberg, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, and Tom Wesselmann. (left: Chuck Close, John, #13/80, 1998, color screen print, Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer)

Fine art printmaking, made by transference of ink from an artist-worked surface (such as metal, stone, wood) onto a piece of paper by hand, rather than by a high powered electric printing press, allows great variety in artistic styles. It has been possible for these artists to express their individual feelings in another medium first, usually painting, then adapt this work to an appropriate fine art printmaking process (such as etching, woodblock, lithostone).

The energetic imagery resulting from the selected printmaking process combined with the artist's emotions and intellect is itself pleasing, and adds to the after-zing that is so valued. That is, many people find such visual effects aesthetically pleasing and exciting regardless of the representational image presented; each print has a vigor and vivacity that reveals new ways of seeing and thereby helps us to find new ways of responding to one another.

This selection of prints is from the Jordan D. and Mina Schnitzer collection of Portland, Oregon. Growing up around art, Jordan began collecting at the early age of fourteen. Along with his wife, he collects contemporary prints by internationally recognized artists who came to prominence after 1945, as well as work of contemporary artists in the Northwest. As an art collector and businessman, Jordan and his wife Mina are active supporters of education and the arts.

You may also enjoy our section on 20th Century Figurative and Portrait art.

Read more about the Maryhill Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

rev. 1/15/11

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