Due to the horrific events of World War II, artists in the United States felt compelled to find new meaning in their art and, in doing so, sought different artistic techniques and methods. Painters and sculptors, many of which had immigrated to escape the war, began attending sessions at printing studios, including Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17 - the avant-garde printmaking workshop that relocated to New York City from Paris (1940-1955). Those who attended Atelier 17, including 60 women artists, were not only trained in the skills of printmaking but were also encouraged to push beyond the limits of traditional prints within the styles of abstract expressionism and geometric abstraction.
As more artists began to experiment with the technique, printmaking as a medium gained widespread acceptance in the United States at this time. In addition, compared to paintings and sculpture, prints were inexpensive to produce, were easier to transport all over the world, and because they were often printed in multiples, a single image could be shown in numerous places simultaneously. As the artist Boris Margo stated, "The print can serve as a most persuasive introduction to modern art." Artists continued to promote the techniques of printmaking by teaching in colleges and universities across the U.S., while others, such as Mauricio Lasansky and Gabor Peterdi, helped establish printmaking and graphic programs that would enable a new generation of artists.
Culled from the museum's permanent collection, this exhibition highlights a range of printmaking techniques employed by Leonard Baskin, Bernard Buffet, Ralston Crawford, Worden Day, Leonard Edmonson, Antonio Frasconi, Stanley William Hayter, John Paul Jones, Vera Klement, Mauricio Lasansky, Seong Moy, Gabor Peterdi, Jackson Pollock, Karl Schrag, Hedda Sterne, John Talleur, Rufino Tamayo, Nahum Tschacbasov, and Richard Zellner.
Curator: Kathryn Koca Polite