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Contemporary Prints from the collection of the National Academy Museum

July 2 - October 3, 2004



Contemporary Prints from the Collection of the National Academy Museum, which opened July 2, 2004 showcases forty-five of the 1,500 prints in the museum's collection. Focusing on works done in the last thirty years, the exhibition includes Chuck Close, Richard Estes, Robert Cottingham, Jasper Johns, Maya Lin, Robert Motherwell and Idelle Webber, among others. A range of printmaking techniques is represented, from traditional woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs, to more adventurous, mixed-media explorations.

One of the earliest works in the exhibition is Robert Motherwell's Altamira Elegy, 1979-80, a lithograph inspired by the prehistoric cave paintings of Altamira, Spain. The artist explored this subject most famously with his series of large scale paintings, Elegy to the Spanish Republic, which he began in 1948 to commemorate the Spanish Civil War. This lithograph provides a more intimate view of the subject, scaled to 4 3/4 x 10 inches, and printed with two aluminum plates, creating wash effects and intricate passages. The softer, rounded forms evoke the depictions of bison found on the cave walls.

Another abstraction, Clare Romano's depiction of a Vermont waterfall, Big Falls, 1986, utilizes both collagraph and woodcut techniques. The artist, known for her use of mixed media, printed the color patches of this large work (60 x 22 inches) with the collagraph plates, and then the black areas from woodcuts. The varied textures in the resulting piece mimic the currents and flow of the waterfall that inspired it.

Chuck Close and Nathan Oliveira provide examples of figurative works in the show. In Close's Self-portrait, 1988, the spit-bite aquatint technique is masterfully manipulated. This process is particularly effective in producing areas of closely related tones, and lends itself perfectly to this print. The small series of dots combine to produce a realistic, almost photographic image of the artist's face. Close often employs such a device in his paintings as well. Nathan Oliveira adapted the gestural approach of his painting style to the drypoint technique in order to suggest the energy of a Baboon, 1994. Obscured by these gestural lines, a human leg and foot are defined on the right side of the print.

Other highlights of the exhibition include Jasper Johns's color etching Green Angel, Maya Lin's Flatlands #29, a monoprint made from broken glass, and Warrington Colescott's Life and Times of Prof. Dr. S Freud, derived from the aesthetic of the comic book. Surrealism is addressed in the works of Ellen Laynon and Brian Paulsen and Photorealism is represented by works from Richard Estes and Robert Cottingham. Idelle Webber provides a small gem in Mountain Dew, E. 6.78, a 1978 etching in which Pop Art meets the Ashcan School.

The print collection of the National Academy Museum is characterized by the broad variety of both subjects and styles represented. Beginning with 1830's engravings by Asher B. Durand and continuing through to the most recent works by Gregory Amenoff, James Bohary, and others, the Academy has chronicled and preserved the history of American art as represented through printmaking.

Checklist of the exhibition:

Clinton Adams (1918 - 2002)
Costa Brava, 1988
lithograph, 27 1/2 x 17 1/4 inches
Garo Z. Antreasian (b. 1922)
YE'S EM (I AM), 1991
Color Lithograph, 30 1/8 x 26 inches
Lou Barlow (b. 1908)
The Rescue
Handcolored linocut, 16 x 23 inches
Richard Bosman (b. 1944)
The Wave
Color woodcut, 30 x 38 inches
David Becker (b. 1937)
Crosspaths, 1984
Etching, 22 3/16 x 29 11/16 inches
David Bumbeck (b. 1940)
The Stones, 1990
Etching and aquatint, 19 x 22 inches
William Behnken (b. 1943)
From Kingsbridge Heights, 1989
Aquatint, 17 x 23 inches
Ann Chernow (b. 1936)
Let's not be sensible, 1997
Etching and aquatint, 22 1/4 x 15 in.
It could only happen in Brooklyn, 1997
Etching and aquatint, 22 1/4 x 15 inches
Chuck Close (b. 1940)
Self-Portrait, 1988
Spit-bite aquatint, 13 x 9 inches
Arthur Cohen (b. 1928)
Artist in Print Studio
Etching, 4 1/4 x 6 3/8 inches
Woman at Piano
Etching and aquatint, 4 1/4 x 6 3/8 inches
Jeep on Beach Road with Lighthouse
Etching, 4 1/8 x 6 1/8 inches
Untitled (Two men playing chess)
Etching, 4 3/8 x 6 1/4 inches
Warrington Colescott (b. 1921)
Life and Times of Prof. Dr. S. Freud, 1989
Etching and aquatint, 42 x 29 5/8 inches
Robert Fremont Conover (1920-1998)
Housing Demolition Site, 1991
Etching, 25 5/8 x 17 inches
Robert Cottingham (b. 1935)
Rolling Stock series No. 22 for Bill, 1992
Collagraph and etching, 48 x 68 inches
Richard Estes (b. 1936)
Subway, 1981
Silkscreen, 14 x 20 inches
Jasper Johns (b. 1930)
Green Angel, 1991
Color etching, 25 x 18 inches
Mohammad Khalil (b. 1936)
Harlem I
Lithograph, 24 1/2 x 37 1/2 inches (each print)
Robert Kipniss (b. 1931)
Still Life with Spoon, 1998
Mezzotint, 9 3/8 x 11 5/8 inches
Misch Kohn (b. 1916)
Black Warrior Basin, 1980
Engraving and chine collé with woodcut, 22 3/8 x 26 1/8 inches
Chaim Koppelman (b. 1920)
Confrontation 2, 1988
Color aquatint, etching, and photoetching, 20 11/16 x 27 inches
Ellen Lanyon (b. 1926)
Encore Event (Vanish Extraordinary), 1987
Hand colored offset lithograph, 24 x 17 inches
Mauricio Lasansky (b. 1914)
Maria and Daughter Curie, 1987
Intaglio print (collagraph), 35 7/8 x 28 1/4 inches
Gerson Leiber (b. 1921)
Study for "Smoking Man", 1985
Lithograph, 17 1/2 x 14 3/4 iinches
Maya Lin (b. 1959)
Flatlands #29, 1997
Monoprint from broken glass, 24 x 22 inches
George Miyasaki (b. 1934)
White Signal, 1987
Color lithograph, 30 x 24 inches
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)
Altamira Elegy, 1979-80
Lithograph, 4 x 10 inches
George Nama (b. 1939)
From the artist's portfolio Transmorphoses
Etching, 8 x 5 inches (each)
Nathan Oliveira (b. 1928)
Baboon, 1994
Drypoint, 32 5/8 x 28 inches
Brian Paulsen (b. 1941)
Untitled Vandalism, 1993
Engraving from plastic plate on morilla, 19 1/2 x 13 3/4 inches
Deborah Remington (b. 1935)
Ackia, 1975
Silkscreen, 25 x 22 inches
Paul Resika (b. 1928)
Etching, 14 3/4 x 17 13/16 in.
Clare Romano (b. 1922)
Big Falls, 1986
Collagraph and woodcut, 22 1/4 x 29 3/4 inches (each print)
John Ross (b. 1921)
Upper Chasm and Lower Chasm
Collagraph, 30 x 22 5/16 inches
Richard Sloat (b. 1945)
Street Tree
Etching, 20 x 15 inches
Juergen Strunck (b. 1943)
Roller print, 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches (each print)
Evan Summer (b. 1948)
Landscape XVI, 1985
Etching, 23 x 28 3/4 inches
Carol Summers (b. 1925)
The Pillars of Hercules, 1990
woodcut/ monotype, 30 x 30 inches
Idelle Weber (b. 1932)
Mountain Dew E.6.78, 1978
Etching, 25 x 25 inches
Charles Wells (b. 1935)
Man in a Mirror
Etching, 22 3/4 x 19 7/8 inches
Joseph Zirker (b. 1924)
Untitled, 1991
Monotype, 59 5/8 41 7/8 inches

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